A Set Up for Widespread Thunderstorms, But….

/A Set Up for Widespread Thunderstorms, But….

A Set Up for Widespread Thunderstorms, But….

Good Saturday bloggers,

Today is similar to Friday as we are having scattered morning showers and thunderstorms. The rest of today will be dry, warm and humid.


It is the middle of May which means we are reaching the wettest time of year along with being in the thick of severe weather season. Take a look at this crazy weather set up for today. A front will be stalled basically from western Kansas to northern Missouri and east into Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s north of the front and 80s/90s to the south. This set up in the Plains, this time of year, usually means widespread rain and thunderstorms with severe weather and flooding. Now, we are seeing scattered showers and thunderstorms with little to no severe threat. This is most odd, but we have a “Cap” over this set up. The “Cap” is a layer of warm air at about 10,000 feet. This prevents thunderstorms from forming. So, most thunderstorms this weekend will be along I-80 in the cooler air, while the stalled front stays mostly inactive. Now, we have seen scattered showers and thunderstorms Friday and Saturday mornings, but they have been high based, above the “Cap”, and not associated with the front.



The stalled front and “Cap” remain, so the front will stay inactive. Highs will be in the 80s and 90s south of the front and 50s/60s to the north. Sunday night we will be looking for some thunderstorms to form in the southwest Plains. This is a sign that the “Cap” is breaking as cooler air moves in aloft. Some of these thunderstorms may wander in Monday morning.


Here is the rainfall forecast through Tuesday. You can see most of the rain is from northern Kansas to Iowa into northern Missouri. KC is on the southern edge and most of this rain looks to occur Monday and Tuesday as the “Cap” begins to break.


Here is the rainfall forecast when you add Wednesday-Friday. We are seeing the potential for widespread 1″-4″ rainfall amounts. Let’s see how this evolves, but the front will still be in the area with disturbances wandering out of the Rockies. These features, this time of year, with little to no “Cap” should net daily chances of widespread rain and thunderstorms. The severe threat is low as the flow aloft will be weak. We average about 1.50″ of rain per week, so this rainfall forecast should not be hard to attain given how the pattern is set up.


We need the rain as we are about 3″ below average for the year. KCI is above average for the month, but many locations are not.


Have a great weekend and Happy Mother’s day.

Jeff Penner

2018-05-13T15:45:39+00:00May 12th, 2018|General|10 Comments


  1. Mr. Pete May 12, 2018 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Was there any measurable rain in Johnson County KANSAS this AM?

    • Gary May 12, 2018 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Yes, Pete, there was. I think the most was around 0.04″. There may have been 0.50″ in the thunderstorm over Wyandotte county.

  2. Lrcfan1 May 12, 2018 at 10:46 am - Reply

    So the weather should be nice for the big race this evening at kansas speedway?

  3. Snow Miser May 12, 2018 at 11:26 am - Reply

    The weather pattern around here for the last 3 days has all been very similar.

  4. Rockdoc May 12, 2018 at 11:57 am - Reply

    We had a spit of rain this morning here in south Prairie Village. I heard thunder to the north-northwest around 7am. Just hoping it doesn’t pour cats and dogs early this coming week near Herington, KS as we will be in the field collecting water samples.

    Gary, what happened to Saturday morning broadcast of KSHB? It’s all NBC Today after 8am.

  5. Nick May 12, 2018 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    more thunder and .01 inch of rain this morning, bringing our total to .02 over the past two days, lol. the gfs looks good and all, but so far the short-mid range models are pouring water on that( for example, the latest NAM has Sunday night storms forming in southwest Kansas, moving our way, then dying out, then reforming in a west to east zone to our north in Neb and Iowa and then storms in Iowa move south east of us in a clock wise pattern( similar to the track of some of the surface lows that I have seen this season.)

  6. j-ox May 12, 2018 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    According to our local newspaper, Lawrence already 5″ down/below avg annual precip to date. Grass is green, but subsoil is dry-ish. Need a ‘slow Mother Nature soaker’ w/ as little runoff as possible, please.

    Any ideas as to what contributes to this cap of warm air aloft? Corn belt? Dry & arid central/Western KS/OK perpetuating this phenomenon?

  7. NoBeachHere May 12, 2018 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Key word is patience

    While we are dry to an extent rain is occurring, granted yes, not at the rates most want but if you look at everything overall, we’re 6 weeks behind, in a sense, compared to last year. It’s going to happen.
    Just have some faith and belief and I would not buy any “no rain” forecast.

    • Kurt May 12, 2018 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      6 weeks behind compared to what? We’ve been way early the previous two years. We’re about normal with iris bloom, locust trees blooming. These warm days have caught the area up to where bloom and growth is normal this time of year.

      Not sure why some don’t acknowledge a problem when areas are 6 inches below normal year to date and 15-18 inches below normal since May 2017.

      I guess if it’s not in you backyard it’s not a problem. However I don’t see the drought growing in the coming weeks. I guess we wait until June 1st and see what May actually are. But the grasses in hay fields are starting to turn yellow and less than a foot tall.

  8. Bobbie May 12, 2018 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Outflow boundry near Manhattan…could it spark storms tonight?

Leave A Comment