Last October Vs. This October Out West

/Last October Vs. This October Out West

Last October Vs. This October Out West

Good Friday Morning Bloggers,

If you have wondered if there is a difference from last October to this October let me end the discussion with this:


This forecast rainfall map above shows the total precipitation for the next 300 hours ending October 25th. Near Kansas City most of that 1″ of rain comes from this weekends chance of showers and thunderstorms. The big difference that is rather telling is out west where they are dealing with a major fire disaster that is ongoing.  Look at San Fransisco east to Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Most of that region is not forecast to even have 0.01″ of total precipitation during this rather critical time frame.  Last October, South Lake Tahoe had 5.04″ of liquid from a series of very wet storm systems that blasted California from October 14th to 18th. This then returned in December, February, and April.  That early series of storms was good news for that reason, and bad news as well. The good news is that the drought got obliterated in the next few months.  The bad news is that there was significant flooding.  This year the bad news is that the fire disaster is ongoing and there is no rain in sight. This is a huge difference from last years pattern to this year. One of many huge differences. According to the LRC a unique pattern is setting up right before our eyes. We are around one week into this pattern, so let’s hang on for a few more weeks before we make any conclusions, but the first evidence is in out west.

This weekends set up:


This forecast map above shows the surface forecast valid at 10 PM Saturday night. A low pressure area is forecast to be in northern Illinois with a cold front trailing southwest to just southeast of KC by this time frame.  A line of thunderstorms is likely with some severe thunderstorm producing a main threat of damaging winds and large hail. The SPC doesn’t even mention tornadoes, but it is still something to monitor closely.  Look at what happens to this storm system by Sunday evening. Snow is forecast to fall in Canada while a weak line of showers and thunderstorms tracks across New York trailing southwest to Alabama. West of this are it is completely dry all the way to the Pacific Ocean.


Severe weather risks:



The risk is below slight today, and then there is a this slight risk of severe thunderstorms tomorrow from northwest Illinois southwest to southeastern Kansas.

From the SPC:  Thunderstorm development with a threat for isolated large hail and wind damage will be possible from the southern High Plains into the Midwest Saturday afternoon and evening.  A strong short-wave trough is expected to progress across the northern/central Rockies into the High Plains by 7 PM Saturday as 500 mb flow increases downstream across Nebraska/Iowa/southern Minnesota.  While this feature will lag the delineated severe risk corridor somewhate, a synoptic front should stall across the central Plains/mid Missouri Valley region Friday and will serve as the focus for convection by mid-late afternoon.  Latest short-range guidance suggests a narrow zone of strong boundary-layer heating will be noted from the Texas Panhandle northwest across south-central KS into northern MO and southeast IA.  Forecast soundings suggest surface parcels will reach their convective temperatures around 4 PM to 5 PM and frontal ascent should encourage thunderstorm development along the wind shift, especially by early evening as the front begins to surge southeast.  High precipitable water values, in excess of 1.5″, will not prove conducive for steep mid-level lapse rates but low-level heating is expected to aid buoyancy and a robust squall line should evolve with a strongly sheared environment. Wind damage and some hail are the primary threats, especially across Kansas/Missouri into southeast Iowa as adequate buoyancy will extend into this region where large-scale forcing for ascent will be greatest. While short-wave trough will only glance the southern High Plains, some severe threat should extend into the Texas Panhandle where low-levle lapse rates will be steeper than northern latitudes.

There is also a chance that a few thunderstorms will form over northern Missouri this evening near the front. There is some capping today, but temperatures and humidity are rising.  We will be monitoring these developments closely on 41 Action News.

Thank you for spending a few minutes reading the Action Weather Blog featuring the Weather2020 and the cycling weather pattern. Go over to the blog on Weather2020 and join in the conversation and let us know if you have any questions.


2017-10-14T16:38:29+00:00October 13th, 2017|General|30 Comments


  1. Three7s October 13, 2017 at 8:23 am - Reply

    From what I’ve seen of the pattern, there’s a persistent ridge in the southeastern part of the nation, as noted by that model forecasting the rain on this front just dying after it moves through our area. Trough after trough just obliterates the northwest. Most would say this is a pretty typical La Nina like pattern. If the AO doesn’t go negative, I’m actually thinking we don’t get much snow now, despite the precipitation events we’ve had. We need a more southerly track, and I’ve only seen such a track from one storm since this LRC began.

    Let’s hope that changes.

    • REAL HUMEDUDE October 13, 2017 at 9:38 am - Reply

      To me its a very high likelihood the storm track will shift south, its only October and the jet is still pretty far up there. It will work its way south and so will the storm systems, I expect to start seeing this in mid-November. I have no idea how it will play out, but I like the players on the field for this LRC

  2. Urbanity October 13, 2017 at 8:57 am - Reply

    Gary, I appreciate you trying to differentiate the two years. There were some typhoon remnants last year that pushed up moisture content for California during October last year, but I understand they had a wetter year than this one.

    One thing to note is that KC has had a LOT of rain this year, yet out here near Salina we went through the 5th driest summer of all time (or something to that effect). So when I hear other comments about how wet it’s been, that only applies to KC area for the summer, we were extremely dry out here. It’s been a difficult thing to analyze with the LRC, but the reality is the summer mirrored the winter, very very dry in central Kansas.I do not anticipate this trend to change this year, while the LRC identifies the annual weather pattern change I still believe we are in another longer term pattern that is causing the global warmth and desert like dryness during the peak temperature months…it’s like we have our monsoon season and then the faucet gets turned off. My oldest is 15 years old and he has never seen a 6′ drift or commute stopping snowfall, it just doesn’t happen any more. Winters like summers are pretty boring weather wise.

    • REAL HUMEDUDE October 13, 2017 at 9:45 am - Reply

      Keith – you realize you live in a semi-arid climate , right? Salina is light years away from KC climatologically speaking. When there isn’t any major running Rivers through an area, it tells you that area is predominantly DRY. Driving west through KS, the rivers and creeks peter out right as you get to Salina, so that’s the cutoff for significant precipitation in my mind over the eons. Sure, you get some wet years here and there, but they are the exception not the rule. Its on average 10F hotter in the summer out there, and drier and that’s not ever going to change. Its a tough place to be a farmer or rancher, much harder than it is in MO where there is a creek or branch between every hill.

      • Anonymous October 13, 2017 at 9:51 am - Reply

        We’ve had plenty of rain this year, so this is one of those wetter years for us. Can’t wait for the snow this winter.

        • Richard October 13, 2017 at 11:09 am - Reply

          Anonymous is not a name
          Sorry but it bugs me

  3. KS Jones October 13, 2017 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Well, actually, the so-called “Great American Desert” doesn’t begin until you go west of the 100th meridian (Dodge City & all points west).
    Salina’s average annual rainfall is 32.23″, and “semi-arid” regions get less than 20″ per year.
    Curiously, Salina normally gets more rain in July than Kansas City.

    • REAL HUMEDUDE October 13, 2017 at 11:04 am - Reply

      I am likely overgeneralizing. However, the topography speaks volumes about that area. It’s hard to find a decent sized pond in some cases, last time I drove through western KS they were about all dried up. Stark differences in climate from end of the state to the other. Salina is caught between the two extremes, and I would say they end up on the drier side of spectrum more often than not

    • Troy October 13, 2017 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      Its interesting to look at rainfall by month. We always think of the corn belt as so much wetter but really during the summer months it isn’t that much different than parts of KS. The big difference is in the winter. Our precip goes from 4″/month in summer to 1/2″ in winter while there precip stays a lot more constant throughout the year. Of course the other big difference is the 6′ deep topsoil and lack of 100 degree heat for their crops. I have just a few acres that have that much topsoil and its amazing to see the corn yields. This year the yield monitor was between 240-260 while the rest of the field was only about 160.

    • Urbanity October 13, 2017 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Good note KS Jones. I somewhat agree with Hume, even though we do have a major river that runs through here, but it’s not even 15% of what it once was (so I hear), but yes the farther east you go the more green it gets and the closer you are to numerous creeks and tributaries.

      Even though Salina gets 32.23″ on average (Russell, KS, 50 miles west averages 26″), the average moisture from Dec-Feb is about an 1″ per month. I would feel fortunate to get that much in recent years, although when we have had a big precip producer the temps have not been cold enough for snow (last year we had the 2.5″ moisture equivalent near catastrophic ice storm but the temps stayed right at 32-33 degrees).

      • KS Jones October 13, 2017 at 2:48 pm - Reply
        Kansas Geological Survey
        Average annual rainfall ranges from 15 to 18 inches per year in far western Kansas to more than 40 inches per year in southeastern Kansas. . . Many streams in western Kansas have experienced a progressive reduction in flow during the past three decades. Trends are most dramatic in the upper Arkansas, Cimarron, and Smoky Hill River basins, where a shift toward irrigated crop production has contributed to the lowering of the water table and significantly reduced baseflow contributions to streams from shallow aquifers.

  4. Jason October 13, 2017 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Probably develop to the E-SE of us and we won’t get anything with this storm

  5. Kurt October 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    We didn’t have a wet year north of Kansas City either, we’re still around 22 inches year to date after a very dry summer we are 8 inches below average.

    The wet areas were as localized as the dry areas in many instances the last lrc

    • j-ox October 13, 2017 at 4:09 pm - Reply

      Have felt your pain, Kurt. Lawrence, KS ended 2012 w/ ~21″ = a truly dismal/stressful year that was.

  6. Kurt October 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Latest drought monitor shows almost all of Buchanan county in D0 and the two counties east in D1. Not a wet year at all up here

  7. KS Jones October 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    The weather has been exceptionally pleasant here today. Our high temperature was 64°, whereas in the torrid zone in and around KC (ha), the high was 85°.

  8. Anonymous October 13, 2017 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Everyone be safe when driving this weekend. Farmers are finally in the fields in full force and will be going at it late into the night and until rains come to the area. Farm equipment and grain trucks will be on the side roads as well as highways, so please be kind as they get the grain to the plants for our food and fuel. Be safe out there everyone!

  9. Kerrie October 13, 2017 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    Everyone be safe when driving this weekend. Farmers are finally in the fields in full force and will be going at it late into the night and until rains come to the area. Farm equipment and grain trucks will be on the side roads as well as highways, so please be kind as they get the grain to the plants for our food and fuel. Be safe out there everyone!

    • Richard October 13, 2017 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      Not here

      • Snow Miser October 13, 2017 at 7:17 pm - Reply

        Well, that’s why I said, “Sort of.”

  10. L.B October 13, 2017 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    I hope it is a warm winter

    • terry October 13, 2017 at 9:28 pm - Reply


  11. Richard October 13, 2017 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Fires are more damaging because we keep building in harm’s way !

    The California fires stretch the definition of “natural disaster” since human activities have exacerbated their likelihood, their extent, and their damage. Deliberate decisions and unintended consequences of urban development over decades have turned many parts of the state into a tinderbox

    Much of California is naturally hot, dry, and prone to fires for parts of the year. But the state’s population is growing, leading to a significant overlap between the areas of high fire risk and areas with a growing population density.

    The above is only a portion of the article. Thought it had some merit. Like the flooding in Houston. Yes, the rain/hurricane stalled for 3 days. But imo it would not have flooded so bad if there had not been so much concrete. They have no restrictions in Houston. They just keep building. Much like our own city, Indian Creek. Concrete and heavy rains do not mix. Rain has no way to soak in. It runs off into the creek which then becomes a raging river.

    Those fires in CA combined with high winds were bound to hit a populated area sooner or later. It finally did.

  12. Rockdoc October 13, 2017 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    The aquifers, Ogallala and Dakota, are over used. Too much water withdrawal by farmers & ranchers. Groundwater that would normally discharge into streams/creeks can no longer supply surface water. Why? The groundwater level has dropped below the elevation of the surface water channels. Continued over withdrawal will result in depletion of the aquifers, and it is predicted to occur in ~30-45 years. This will leave Kansas high and dry. No water for homes, businesses & towns in many areas, let alone agriculture and beef/pork/poultry.

    It’s happening folks, and it’s real. I do groundwater for a living and have been monitoring it for years. Over consumption! The rate of recharge is far less than withdraws.

    FYI, it takes over 1 Million gallons of fresh, potable water to frack one oil/gas well. Thats enough water for ~25 homes/yr or ~60 head of dairy cows. More if for regular beef cattle.

    FYI, most irrigation wells pump 500 to 1,000 gpm, and they sometimes run 24/7 in the summer. You do the math!

    With changes in moisture patterns due to climate change, on top of growing population and need for food, we will be in a world of hurt in the future. Water will be the new gold although out west they recognized this back in the 1850s-1860s, hence water rights. First in right! Another factoid is the state of California has 3 different water laws to deal with. 😊

    • Rockdoc October 13, 2017 at 8:51 pm - Reply

      I should clarify regarding California water. First is Riparian, which is like in eastern/central states. Second is Western Water Law like in the western states. Third is Mexican/Old Mission Water Law that comes from laws in place before California became a state and was under the laws of Mexico, which were honored when the land was taken.

  13. Rockdoc October 13, 2017 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Needless to say, we all have a fiduciary and conservation duty to use less water, and conserve as much as we can. Cheers to your fresh glass of water 😊

    • REAL HUMEDUDE October 14, 2017 at 8:37 am - Reply

      We need an initiative to recycle storm water and dump it directly back into aquafer. in times of excess we could make up lost time in a hurry. Treating it would be costly, just dump it back down there and it will settle out naturally

    • Supercell October 14, 2017 at 9:01 am - Reply

      From the time the Rocky Mountains developed until the time they erode, the entire front range and up to 300 miles east of the slopes will be deprived of moisture. Nothing will change that situation. It’s not climate change that causes western Kansas to be dry, it’s the geographical location. Homesteaders filled every 160 acre plot of ground in western Kansas and eastern Nebraska and since the original homestead ground opened, the area has been losing population. Why? Because they discovered they had been sold a bill of goods and found out the hard way that area is extremely dry and couldn’t grow crops. Nothing can be done to change the climatology of western Kansas as long as the Rocky Mountains are where they are. Best advice for anyone who wants more rain but lives within 300 miles of the front range is do like the homesteaders and move to where the rain falls.

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