Friday Morning Thunderstorms

Good morning bloggers,

The weather pattern is rather fascinating this morning.  As a tropical storm is about to form over the southern Gulf of Mexico off the Yucatan Peninsula coast in the next couple of days, Kansas has experienced a couple of slow moving upper level disturbances drifting across the Sunflower state.  At 9 PM last night, seen below, there were two of these disturbances. One of them was over southeastern Kansas and weakening, while a very well formed one, that appeared to have a little “eye” in the middle was over western Kansas.

Radar 4 PM Yesterday

While you were sleeping, this disturbance drifted east and by 4:30 AM, the western Kansas system had sent an outflow boundary east all the way to Kansas City this morning. The disturbance was still alive with a weak circulation just east of Salina, KS.  Thunderstorms formed over Kansas City early this morning and over 3″ of rain have fallen over parts of Jackson county, near Blue Springs Missouri.  This area has been very dry, but not any more. That was a lot of rain, and it was still adding up with more thunderstorms generating as the sun was about to rise.

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 4.25.44 AM

Let us know how much rain you received, and I will add in the totals here:

  • Lee’s Summit, MO: 3.47″
  • Olathe, KS:  1.74″
  • Overland Park, KS:  1.00″
  • KCI Airport:  0.56″

Memorial Day Weekend Forecast:

  • There is still a chance of lingering showers and thunderstorms today.  Then, the rest of the holiday weekend looks to be mostly sunny with only a slight chance of an isolated thunderstorm all weekend.  High in the upper 80s today, then lower 90s on Saturday, Sunday, and Memorial Day.  Get that sunscreen ready!

The Tropics:

Continental US - Shortwave Window - IR

The first thing you should look for to find out if there will be a tropical storm developing is the amount of thunderstorms near the center of low level circulation.  Last night, thunderstorms, convection, intensified right near where there is a broad surface circulation. These thunderstorms release a lot of heat through the condensation process. When there is condensation latent heat is released, and this was happening big time early this morning. This will likely ignite more organization from this system. The water is still a bit cool as it is only May, but conditions are becoming favorable for development.  This next map shows the more organized circulation, likely Tropical Storm Alberto by early Sunday morning.  It is approaching the southeast coast, almost in the exact spot we forecasted this to be in late May months ago.  This part of the pattern will cycle back through two more times during hurricane season in mid-July and late August or early September.  We are forecasting a strong to major hurricane in one or both of these next two cycles. This is near the middle of the forecast hot spot for tropical storm season we issued months ago.


Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.  Click here to join in the conversation on the Weather2020 blog as we share in this weather experience:  Weather2020 Blog

Have a great day, and let us know if  you have any questions.


Another Warm Spring Day: Any Thunderstorms?

Good morning,

I will get to KC’s chance of thunderstorms in a minute, but let’s start with the developments in the tropics.  A tropical system is forming along the coastal region of the south Yucatan Peninsula today. This will likely become the first Tropical Depression of the season, and then Tropical Storm Alberto will likely form Friday or Saturday as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico.  This system was forecast by Weather2020 to develop near the end of May back in January when I spoke at the big AMS conference in Austin, TX.  Using the LRC, this prediction was made and it is verifying, like the majority of the predictions made this year.  So, where will this system track? Is the water warm enough to support significant intensification? The answer to the first question was answered months ago. It will track to between New Orleans and the west coast of Florida.

NHC Day 5 Day Potential Alberto

This 5-day forecast from the NHC was forecast by Weather2020 in January. And, the thunderstorms are really growing this morning.  This system will likely form into a named storm by the weekend.

Alberto_Prestorm_Sat May 24

Look closely at this satellite picture, and you can see some disturbances over Kansas and Missouri.  There will be a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon and evening near KC, with the better chance arriving on Friday.  The trend on the models is for Fridays chance of thunderstorms to be below 50%.  Let’s see how the models come in today.  The rest of the weekend looks great with low chances of rain Saturday through Memorial Day.

Have a great day, and go to the Weather2020 blog to join in the conversation.


The Tropics May Be Acting Up Early

Good morning bloggers,

The weather pattern is now fairly calm across the United States.  For storm chasers this has been about as quiet of a year that I can remember, but it isn’t over yet. The pattern continues to cycle as described by the LRC and we are expecting two more active stretches of days before summer settles in. These are due in late this month into the first few days of June, and then around mid-June. The jet stream will continue to weaken and eventually summer will take over ending traditional tornado season.

While the weather pattern has calmed down, it is beginning to show signs of developing a tropical storm before the beginning of traditional hurricane season on June 1.  One part of the cycling pattern that we are forecasting to develop tropical activity is arriving in this next week, and right on schedule there is a system to monitor closely.


Thunderstorms were beginning to get a bit more organized over the Caribbean Sea.  This has been a target area for development and a track towards the north since October by applying the LRC.  The most likely track will be north making landfall between New Orleans and Tampa Florida.  Let’s see how this develops.  The Weather2020 forecast from 50 to 200 days before, by using the LRC, is better than the ones issued five days out from NHC or the SPC.  This is yet another example.  Hurricane season is likely about to emerge this week.


For Kansas City, we have another beautiful late spring day. We are now just four weeks from the first day of summer.  It has been a warm month of May, after a cold April.  These above average temperatures are continuing for a while. There is a chance of thunderstorms Thursday into Saturday, with the best chance expected around Friday morning.  There may be a complex of thunderstorms moving our way from the northwest Thursday night. Let’s see how this sets up tomorrow.

Have a great day and thank you for sharing with us on the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.  Go over to the Weather2020 blog to join in the conversation and we can discuss the latest model trends on this potential early tropical storm. It would be named Alberto.


A Look At Quasi-Permanent Troughs & Ridges

Good morning bloggers,

The weather is going to heat up today back into the 80s. While the weather is calm I have a couple of videos to share with you. One of them shows the tornado of the year thus far, and fortunately this EF-3 tornado over central Kansas did not produce much damage as it was mostly over open country. And, the second video discusses one of the biggest reasons why we have had the weather we have had this year.

Tornado Video taken by the great photographer Mike Olbinski: From Gerard Jebaily: You better wear a helmet before watching this because it will BLOW…YOUR…MIND! Here is time lapse video of the Tescott/Culver KS tornado that I chased in storm tracker back on May 1st taken by the best storm photographer I know, Mike Olbinski. His work is featured in movies and TV shows all over the world! Make sure you watch it in at least 1080p or 4K if you can!

The Tescott Tornado from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.

This years pattern:

A Look At This Years Quasi Permanent Troughs & Ridges from Weather2020 on Vimeo.

Have a great day! It will be a warm one. We will look into the holiday weekend forecast on 41 Action News and in the blog tomorrow.


May Rainfall Totals: First 20 Days

Good morning bloggers,

We are now moving into the last third of May, which is climatologically the wettest ten day stretch on average in Kansas City.  On Sunday morning, thunderstorms developed around the northern edge of a disturbance, and if you got underneath one then your lawn got a nice drink of water.  I had 1.00″ exactly yesterday at my place in south Overland Park. but the month is still under 2″ at my house.

May Rainfall Totals:

  • KCI Airport:  4.51″ (12 days with at least a trace out of the first 20 days of the month)
  • Topeka, KS:  3.07″
  • Emporia, KS:  3.07″
  • Pleasant Hill, MO:  2.52″
  • Johnson County Executive Airport, KS:  1.94″
  • Downtown Kansas City Airport: 1.91″
  • Manhattan, KS:  1.70″
  • St. Joseph, MO:  1.69″
  • Gardner, New Century Airport, KS:  1.55″
  • Dodge City, KS:  1.03″
  • Amarillo, TX:  0.08″

The same pattern has been rather consistent with very few exceptions.  KCI Airport had two very wet thunderstorms that went right over the radar site to get the official total to 4.51″.  Amarillo, TX, quite obviously, did not have even one thunderstorm target their radar site. That 0.o8″ total just adds to their drought plagued total since mid-October of 0.93″.  Think about that total; less than one inch of rain with zero inches of snow in the last seven months. The drought extends northeast into the KC region.

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 7.48.57 AM

The drought has eroded to the north and south of our area, with St. Joseph down the middle of this extension from the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles.

There was one huge thunderstorm in northern Missouri Saturday night around 11:45 PM:

Version 2

Glen in Trenton sent this picture in, and wow.  Look very closely. You can see the smaller hail stones that got wrapped into the large hail stone. No one has ever experienced hail forming, but the violent collisions, the freezing of all of that into the very large hail stone must be just incredible.

Kansas City Weather Timeline:

  • Today: Morning low clouds will break up by early afternoon. Temperatures will warm up into the mid to upper 70s. Just a light west breeze.
  • Tuesday: Mostly sunny and warmer. South winds 5-15 mph. High:  85°

Have a great day!


Rainy Sunday

Good Sunday bloggers,

Today will be a very good day for the yards and farms as waves of rain and thunderstorms will affect most locations across eastern Kansas and all of Missouri. There is no threat of severe weather, but some locations may experience flash flooding. Flooding is the number one severe weather killer. Remember, “TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN.”

KCI is officially around 2″ below average rainfall for the year and we will likely make up this deficit the next few days, if not today.


We have a wave of rain and thunderstorms moving north up I-35 this morning and this will be followed by 1-2 more disturbances. This radar image from 630 AM Sunday shows the disturbances lined up south into west Texas.


SUNDAY AFTERNOON: The first wave of rain and thunderstorms will move through this morning, so there may be a break between noon and 3 PM. The clouds and rain will keep highs today between 70° and 75°. After 3 PM rain and thunderstorms will rapidly increase.


SUNDAY EVENING: Rain and T-Storms will be widespread with the heaviest along and east of I-35.


MONDAY MORNING: The rain will end after 10 PM tonight. There will be little to no wind overnight, so there is the chance of dense fog during the Monday AM rush hour with lows 60-65.


MONDAY AFTERNOON: It will end up being a nice afternoon after any morning fog and low clouds burn off. We will then turn our attention to western Nebraska as the next disturbance moves out of the Rockies. A new area of rain and thunderstorms is likely to form out there Monday evening, track across Nebraska and possibly turn southeast into northern Missouri early Tuesday.


TUESDAY: There is going to be a chance of rain and thunderstorms, especially during the morning. The exact location of the thunderstorm cluster is yet to be determined.


Total rainfall today-Tuesday will be .50″ to 2″ across the area. A few locations could see more. There will also be rain chances Wednesday-Saturday. The weather is acting like it is the wettest time of year, but it is not acting like severe weather season. Even though we have rain chances almost every day during the next 7 days, the severe threat is little to none.

So, this is great news for the yards and farms and the moderate drought is likely on the way out.

Have a great week,

Jeff Penner


Severe Thunderstorm Watch

Good evening bloggers,

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH has been issued for the Kansas City region. This is NOT a tornado watch as conditions just aren’t favorable for tornadoes for a few reasons, but this doesn’t mean there is a zero percent chance of tornadoes.  The strongest thunderstorms were forming where it is warmer.  Take a look at the 4 PM surface map:


If you have been following weather for a long time, have been reading this blog, or are just a big weather enthusiast like many of us, then you can see what is wrong with this picture. The morning thunderstorms messed up the surface conditions just enough to create this mess of boundaries.  There is a slow moving and strong cold front over northwestern Kansas with temperatures in the 40s behind it.  There is a stationary front stalled over northern Oklahoma, and this boundary separates the real juicy air in the 90s from the slightly more stable air over northeastern Kansas.  And, there is a surface low near Childress, TX with an inverted trough extending northeast to just west of Kansas City.   This is just not very organized as we do not have a strong triple point.  Thunderstorms are forming and here is the 4:30 PM radar:

Screen Shot 2018-05-19 at 4.27.23 PM

These weaker thunderstorms were strengthening a bit as I was writing this. The main severe weather risks will be large hail and possibly damaging winds.  These will likely move by during the evening. They could impact the Royals/Yankees game for a time, and then we will be looking at another round of thunderstorms with heavy rain into the colder air possible on Sunday morning. This activity is most likely along and southeast of I-35.

Have a great evening and go over to the Weather2020 blog to join in the conversation.


Large Area Of Rain With Embedded Thunderstorms Early This Morning

Good morning bloggers,

It is already a rather fascinating weather day here in Kansas City.  Thunderstorms formed Friday evening over southwestern Kansas near the Oklahoma border, and they made it to Kansas City’s doorstep as of 4 AM this morning.  There is a risk of severe weather today, and there have been many experts out there suggesting a wild severe weather day, but they often miss one big thing, the morning thunderstorms.  The risk will highly depend on what happens with this very large area of rain and thunderstorms. Here was the 4 AM radar:

Radar 4 AM

And, look at the 7:30 AM Radar image:

Screen Shot 2018-05-19 at 7.38.25 AM

The thunderstorms forming near and east of Wichita, KS intensified during the 7 AM hour, and the area near Dodge City, KS was showing only strengthening trends.  These will maintain thick cloud cover over Kansas into the afternoon.  The surface pattern has been rather significantly affected.  For the risk of severe weather to materialize these thunderstorm complexes will have to fall apart and soon.

The SPC expanded the enhanced slight risk as they are seeing these thunderstorms as falling apart?  They are not doing so at the moment, but of course we will be paying very close attention to this.  If the atmosphere can recover, then we will have a different conversation.  Nothing can be ruled out yet. Weather forecasting and more specifically severe weather forecasting is quite challenging. The SPC has a tough job.

Here is how I see it, as of 8:15 AM:

  • The front is way down to the south. There will be, what is called an inverted trough that will extend northeast into eastern Kansas later today
  • The morning thunderstorms are more of a factor than the SPC is giving it credit for
  • I would place the enhanced slight risk farther south.  There is just too much cooler air
  • There is a chance of recovering the air mass to much warmer, but right now that chance is low

The new NAM Model has us getting hit this evening, but it also has 88 degrees here by 4 PM.  This is the thing to monitor!

Thank you for sharing in this weather experience! Go over to the Weather2020 blog to join in the conversation. Have a great Saturday.


Severe Weather Risks Next Two Days

Good morning bloggers,

This weekends storm is directly related to the part of the pattern that produced this severe weather 47 days before this weekend on April 3rd:

180403_rpts_filteredEach dot represents a severe weather report. On April 3, 2018 the Mississippi River Valley was the target of one of the biggest severe weather outbreaks of this season.  The LRC sets up each fall in early October.  This part of the cycling pattern has cycled through four previous times and as we moved into spring it produced the set up for this outbreak.  Now that it is mid-May, a shift to the north and west would be expected.

The Storm Prediction Center has this risk out for tomorrow:

day2otlk_0600Severe thunderstorms are expected to develop across the central plains into the lower Missouri Valley Saturday. Very large hail and damaging winds are the primary threats.  An upper ridge is expected to shift into the Mississippi Valley Saturday which will allow a plume of very unstable air to spread north across the southern and central plains into the lower Missouri Valley. Both the NAM and GFS suggest a corridor of stronger 500 mb flow that will translate across the Texas south plains into the southeast part of Nebraska by late afternoon as a mid-level storm ejects into western Kansas.  This will create the conditions for severe thunderstorm eruption near the developing surface low.

Here is the surface forecast from the GFS model:


And, then by 1 AM this GFS model shows the following:


After this time frame, the GFS does model a southward propagating MCS, or complex of thunderstorms that makes it to Kansas City.  I sure hope it makes it this far south as many areas still need rain.

Have a fantastic Friday and thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.  We will go in-depth on 41 Action News tonight.


Rainfall Amounts Vary Widely Again

Good morning bloggers,

The official rainfall total will come in at 1.73″ at KCI Airport. This had to have been the highest total in the area, or close to it. If you got underneath one of the thunderstorms, then this type of rain fell. But, all around the high totals were other areas that got missed and big time.  Many spots had no rainfall at all yesterday.  Here are two of the extremes:



The weather pattern continues to be a difficult one to describe when it comes to the Kansas City area.  This set up for Saturday is quite interesting. Let’s take a look.


The trend on the models is for a solution more like this above. There is a storm coming out of the southwestern United States, and like most of our storm systems in this 2017-2018 LRC this next storm will go through the quasi-permanant ridge that has caused the drought over northwest Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle that stretches out to near KC.  Storm systems go through this ridge and are forced to go through a transition. This causes our weather patterns to be difficult to describe and explain, and is the reason we still have not been able to have any wide spread heavy rain events. Oh, there have been a few heavy rain events around KC in the past few weeks, but many of us continue to be way below average on rainfall. And, this storm is caught in that transition as well.  It does produce this set up, however, and significant severe weather is possible late Saturday and Saturday night. This storm is directly related to the pattern that produced one of the bigger outbreaks of the LRC year. which begins in October. That outbreak happened 47 days before this weekend.


The Storm Prediction Center has the risk right now confined to that area northeast of the surface low.  If this storm was not going through one of those ridges, it would produce a much bigger severe weather risk, but something is still a bit off on this storm system and I really would like to have another day to see how the models are trending.

Today’s Weather Video:


Weather Video On May 17 from Weather2020 on Vimeo.

Here we are in Kansas City, right underneath an upper low this morning, and it is dry.  There could have easily been a spinning area of downpours over our area this morning. But, there isn’t and the frustrations mount for those of us fascinated by the weather or needing rain on the lawn. Well, it is still fascinating.  Watch the video, it will take just a few minutes.

Saturday Graduation Party Forecast:

  • Morning: There is a 30% chance of morning thunderstorms. They should be out of here before noon.
  • Afternoon: There is only a 10% chance of afternoon thunderstorms.  So, at this moment it looks good for the afternoon or early evening graduation parties. High: 86°
  • Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of thunderstorms. A few may be severe.   The best chance in KC arrives after 10 PM.

Thank you for spending a few minutes reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.  Have a great day!  Here is the link to the Weather2020 blog if you want to ask questions or join the conversation and share in this weather experience, or just read what your weather friends are saying:  Weather2020 Blog