Tracking severe weather for Monday

We discussed yesterday the pressure cooker situation of the atmosphere and how much potential energy there was. Refer back to the Skew-T charts I posted talking about the CAPE (which was over 3,000 J/kg). Yet, everything held off. Even what rolled over KC late in the evening was a far cry from what the atmosphere was capable of. Ah, then something happened.

Overnight, after about 1:30am, we finally saw the blow-up of t-storms across the area. Storms on the North end put down hail near ping pong ball size at times. Other locales picked up rain and in some isolated spots: a lot of it.


So what happened? The Low-Level Jet is what happened. We had the energy in place, we had enough juice in the atmosphere, and we had the lift needed. But the jet helped to feed warm, moist air into the area that was then pushed aloft and created the storms. The Low-Level Jet (or LLJ) is something that happens often in the central part of the country. It’s a small, but strong river of air that resides around the 850mb level, or about 5,000 feet up.
I cannot tell you have many times the LLJ was a key component in generating late night storms in Central Kansas. It was almost like clockwork during May & June.

Here are few charts that might give you a better idea. Both of these were from 7p last night (I was unable to find a decent, understandable upper air chart from 3am). These give a decent idea of what was going on.
850SunAM 500mbSunAM

I know, the charts can still be a little hard to read, especially that bottom one. Basically, the area I circled is Eastern KS and Western MO. The numbers given an indication of the amount of lift going on.

As I mentioned in one of the last updates I posted last night, it seems the RPM model from 6p was actually on to something the whole time! I will give it credit for doing a decent job of indicating storm development after 1am East of the Metro.

Turning our attention to Monday: we could see another round of severe weather in the area. The calendar may say July but the atmosphere plays by its own set of rules. Already the Storm Prediction Center out of Norman, Oklahoma is putting most of our coverage area in a Slight Risk:
3 PM

Don’t be fooled by the term “slight”. There is a big debate within the weather world over the use of that word because the casual person doesn’t perceive that as meaning much. Then, when a monster storm tears up their town they don’t understand why because it was just supposed to be a “slight” risk.
The takeaway here: the area in yellow has a respectable chance of seeing thunderstorms develop. Of the storms that do get going, some will likely be strong to severe. Of the ones that DO reach severe criteria, winds over 60mph and hail the size of quarters to even golf balls is possible. Does this mean everyone will see that? NO. Not at all. But this is why it’s a “slight risk”…. there is a “slight risk” that anyone inside the yellow area could see a storm that produces hail and high winds. Also, a tornado or two cannot be ruled out. The problem here is that despite all of our technology and computers, we cannot tell you with great certainty where exactly a severe storm will occur. No meteorologist can. And if anyone SAYS to you they can, you better hang onto your wallet as well! This is why we use percentage chances.  And when it comes to the SPC, they have a method to what they do. Here is a quick breakdown:

Slight Risk: Means there will be well-organized areas of severe weather, but in a relatively small coverage area. Storms would be on the lower side of severe, with hail mainly around quarter to golfball size and a tornado or two possible. Damaging wind gusts near 60mph are also possible.

Moderate Risk: Well-organized areas of severe weather over a larger coverage area and/or the storms that form may pose a more serious risk (such as hail near softball size or good indications of a tornado outbreak).

High Risk: Not used often, but when put into place it indicates a higher confidence of a significant severe weather outbreak featuring a multitude of severe components (very large hail; numerous large and/or long-lived tornadoes)

Here is a breakdown of how the SPC arrives at their terminology for Slight, Moderate, & High:

That’s just a basic crash course on how the SPC does what they do. You can see how they convert percentages to the various levels. There is talk this year of trying out some new words and changing things up a bit all in an effort to better inform the public.

To get us back on track for the Monday severe weather potential, this is what I believe the threat looks like in the viewing area:
1 PM

Indications suggest the most likely area for severe weather would be North of I-70, mainly from St. Joseph to Chillicothe. This is how the SPC is drawing it up right now:

As you can imagine, we’ll be tracking this all day Monday. And odds are things will likely change just a bit. I encourage you stay with us and be weather aware Monday afternoon. Now, I have to go give the forecast on air. See you in a few minutes.

Watching for more rain tonight

2:35p Update
A respectable line of storms has formed now in Western Missouri. Here again, the model runs at 9p did not handle this at all. Matter of fact, the RPM Powercast I showed at 6p on air was actually pretty close to what’s going on now. That was one that I was unsure of because it seemed to be a bit aggressive, considering what was going on at the time.
Radar1 copy
This line will continue to slowly drift to the East. The storms on the North end have produce some hail. Last report was of hail near ping pong ball size around the Polo area. That will continue to be the threat tonight: hail. For many others in Missouri, it will be some noisy thunder.

2:05a Update
The NWS has gone ahead with a severe T-storm Warning until 2:30a for Caldwell & Ray counties. The threat would be for some hail near quarter size. This is the storm in question:

This storm is tracking to the East right now, so heads up for those near Polo, Kingston, Braymer as this is headed your way.

1:45a Update
I have been watching the radar for the last half hour or so. There seems to be a few storms organizing just a bit to the East and South of KC. If one or two of these continues to strengthen, hail near quarter size would be possible. While these storms won’t impact most of KC, other areas near I-35 could see more thunder/lightning and small hail. I will continue to monitor.

9:45p Update
This may be it, folks. The cap in the atmosphere appears to have held in place to our Northwest. Here’s how the radar looks now…
All of this will slowly drift to the South & Southeast. No severe weather expected at all, but the thunder will continue to sound impressive.

Looking into Nebraska, you can there is not a cloud in the sky. No new development there, which means our chances to see something drift in overnight have greatly diminished. The “cap” wins this round.


The models poorly handled all of this today; the downside to leaning on them so much. But, computer technology is the highest it’s ever been for weather, so we do put a lot of confidence in them. And while the models are usually never “dead on”, they tend to give us a good enough idea. And the more you utilize various models, you begin to understand each one more and what kind of “bias” it has. Some will develop things too far North, others will favor convection more often. And then there are days where the models are clueless. Each time, however, it’s a learning lesson. This is why I caution those who look at ONE model and extrapolate a forecast from it. Plus it takes an understand of the models and all the layers to that model. Moreover, predicting the future is never easy!

That all said, we are still looking pretty warm (and humid) for Sunday. Find some A/C or a pool if you can!

8:10p Update
Some isolated t-storms over the Metro area right now. Not severe but appear to be gaining a little bit of strength. I will continue to track them.

7:45p Update

So far, the radar is VERY quiet. To be honest, I expected to be seeing something on the radar now along the KS/NE line. But it’s quiet.

Despite this, the latest versions of the short-term forecast models are still indicating storms will blossom up. What is the hold up? I just checked the atmospheric sounding out of Topeka. This Skew-T chart speaks volumes:

The area I have circled is the cap we have in place. It would take a lot to explain all the things going on in this chart, but the basics here is that the temperature aloft is still pretty warm. Due to that, vertical development of air/clouds is halted.
Now that said, just above that cap we have tremendous energy available.
That spread in the two colored lines (red being temperature and blue being temperature of a parcel of air lifted from the surface of the Earth) indicated the amount of energy in the atmosphere. Commonly this is called CAPE. In this instance, we have over 3,000 joules per kilogram (J/kg)of CAPE. I know, I know… those last few sentences make about as much sense as: kweivna dsfweow ahfnvmpqb ndaubwbslqa. If you REALLY have the time and want to learn more about Skew-T charts (they are my guilty pleasure when it comes to weather), there is a great blog article here: http://wx4cast.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-read-skew-t-log-p.html

For now, I will continue to watch the radar. As the sun begins to go down, the cap usually starts to weaken. This could be the window of opportunity for storms to fire up. I know some may still have fireworks plans for tonight; personal displays or maybe a family gathering. We’ll continue to keep you updated so you know what to expect!

As expected, we had a round of rain and thunder storms move through portions of Northern Missouri this morning. That activity generally stayed North of I-70 and put down some decent rain amounts in a few area. Like I had mentioned Friday morning during our newscasts, I was concerned with seeing some locally heavy rainfall. In the last 24 hours, here are the reports via the NWS:
1 PM

The rain has pretty much come to an end, but we’re not done yet for today…
You can see from the visible satellite picture above that most of Nebraska and Kansas are seeing sunshine. This is really heating up the atmosphere. Surface temperatures at 3p were already cooking.

2 PM

Based off of this and the forecast information I have seen, I will be watching the Lincoln to Omaha area for storms to redevelop later this evening, after about 5:30p. If/when those storms get going, they should start to push to the South and Southeast. I believe there is a window for Kansas City to experience rain and thunderstorms later on tonight after about 9p.

The RPM model (designed for convection) is picking up on this, but I feel like it may be over-doing it a bit. This is what it is saying the radar will look like at 2:30a:
Again, I believe this might be a little aggressive, but I do believe there is a good chance we’ll see rain and storms in far Eastern Kansas. This would push to the South/Southeast through the night and be just to the South of our coverage area by early Sunday morning. While I am not expecting severe weather, given the massive amount of heat, I would not be surprised to see some strong outflow winds from the storms as they collapse.

Turning the focus Sunday: Prep to sweat. It appears summer is about to make a return in full-force.
3 PM

We should stay in the 90s for Monday as well until another cold front drops in to knock us back into the 80s. But I don’t think we’ll have to wait long before the 90s return again.

I am working on all the forecast stuff as we speak and will have the latest during our 5, 6, & 10p newscasts tonight on 41 Action News. Should there be a need to update this blog more (due to radar, fresh information, etc), you know I will do so.

Hope you’re enjoying the holiday weekend.

Quiet for us today; Happy 4th of July

No record lows this morning, no record highs this afternoon, no rain for today, and no major wind to contend with. Hey, when it’s a boring day for us in the weather center, it’s a great day for you!
Visible satellite shows the mostly sunny sky over our area at 10:15am this morning.

A lot of weather talk about Hurricane Arthur, which made it up to category 2 status last night. It has now gone back to a category 1 storm. It made landfall around 11pm CDT last night. I just want to share some impressive images with you from that storm.
First up is the satellite and radar from just after 1am when it was over land.

Next up, some incredible visible satellite pictures.

This is from 6p Thursday night. Check out that well-defined eye wall.

At 6am this morning, the storm still had a pretty good eye to it, but it was showing signs of weakening.

Just a few hours later, at 9:37a, the storm is firmly back over water, but not as well organized as it was twelve hours prior.

The International Space Station captured this image at 8:30a. Pretty impressive. Remember to click on these images for larger views to really get an idea of this storm.

One other thing I did, just for perspective. I crudely too two satellite images of the same ratio and overlayed Arthur over Kansas City. The eye fits perfectly over the Metro. This gives you more perspective on the size of this storm.
Full disclosure: I used photoshop to get rid of some of the state lines on the East coast so it would not look so confusing. But as you can see, if that storm were centered over KC, it would stretch from South Dakota to Southern Arkansas easily.

Let’s bring this blog back closer to home and talk about our rain chances. We do have a few on Saturday. Newest runs of the models are a bit encouraging, as they appear to keep the bulk of the rain to the North. But the problem I see here: some area somewhere is going to wind up with a wet Saturday. This may lead to someone saying “you guys said it was going to be a nice weekend and all it did was rain!”. Today is dry and Sunday will be dry. Two out of three aren’t bad, right?!  I know people have plans outside. I encourage you to keep eyes on the weather & let your friends know there’s a chance too.

Out in-house Microcast model is suggesting this for Saturday:


I just checked the 12z RPM Model and it’s got a similar idea. As always, this is not promised or guaranteed, but the chance is there for a few areas to see some heavy rain Saturday. I’m not very impressed with traditional “severe weather”, but it’s possible some localized flooding may occur if the heavy rain stacks up. That cell Powercast shows in the images above basically drifts along the state line all day. Could be a soaker for a few areas.

Let’s double-check that fireworks forecast for tonight:

Hard to argue with a forecast like that when many people will be venturing outside tonight. Grab a nice blanket or a comfy chair and enjoy the fireworks. On behalf of all of us at 41 Action News: have a great Independence Day holiday, be safe and have fun.

1 PM


Record cold…in July!

Well, we did it. A record cold morning in Kansas City. We bottomed out at 53°, beating out the old record from 1968. But Kansas City was not alone.

Incredible to think that it’s July and we’re talking record cold. The flip side to this: it means another nice afternoon with highs in the upper 70s. That’s a gain of 25° today. So imagine if  we were in the neighborhood of average and the low this morning was in the low 70s. Tack on 25° and we’re pushing the mid 90s.

Let’s talk about the drought a little bit. The latest drought report was just released an hour ago (as of this blog writing). This is how things looked last week:

And now, with all the rain over the last week, here’s the update:
I will say I am a bit surprised there was no change in Missouri or the KC area. But out in Southwest Kansas, where they were 300% of average for June, a needed dent was put into the drought there. For reference, here are what the colors mean:

June is typically a wet month and as you can see, we sure did pick up a good amount of rain. Now I am aware that your mileage may vary. We have seen a large spread just around the Metro area itself. Some places may have only picked up an inch or two last month.

As we switch gears and talk about the holiday ahead, many will be making plans to be outside. If you’re wondering about fireworks displays Friday night, I’ll think we be in good shape. There *is* a chance for rain after midnight but I believe it will hold off long enough for those 9:45p displays to get going without a problem.

Some local events going on as well on Friday. For those who may be taking part in the Freedom Run in Lenexa, you’ve got a great morning taking shape:
2 PM

Then in the afternoon, it’s the KC Riverfest. Truly, for July, we can’t really complain about this:
3 PM

It appears we’ve lucked out again this year with weather for the 4th of July. Hopefully your holiday is a great one and you celebrate safely. Oh, for those wondering when Summer will return from its vacation: you will not have to wait long. Highs should climb into the 90s by Sunday and Monday.

See you again tomorrow morning on 41 Action News Today.

Record cold July night likely

Good morning bloggers,

A cool July air mass is spreading southeast and expanding across the United States today.  Temperatures dropped into the 50s this morning, and the record low for tonight is 55°, set back in 1968.  We are forecasting a low anywhere from 51° to 55°.  The lowest July temperature ever recorded in Kansas City’s history is 51° on July 5, 1997.  So, this kind of cool air mass has happened before, but this is definitely a rare and cool start to July.

  • Record low today:  53°
  • Today’s low was:  56°
  • Record low for July 3rd:  55°
  • Forecast low tonight:  53°

The record high is 105° for today and we haven’t even been above 91° at KCI Airport yet this year. It has been an active weather pattern and we officially had an EF1` tornado in Liberty, MO two nights ago. Here is a picture from our American Century Investments sky view taken around the time the tornado happened just after 9:30 PM Monday night:

Century Lightning Liberty

There is a lowering and possible funnel cloud on the leading edge which was bulging out away from the solid line of thunderstorms. It appears to be in the right location of the cumulonimbus cloud, so this very well may be the extending funnel that briefly touched down.

Do you realize that we have received a lot of criticism for cutting into programming Sunday and Monday evening with tornado warnings in progress. One viewer even said that “if it isn’t in my neighborhood I don’t care. Please do not cut into the national news at 5:30 PM.”, and then he went on to say, “even if there was a tornado heading into my neighborhood I still don’t want you to cut into the National News”.  Really?  This person would be just relaxing watching the National News while the sirens are going off and a tornado may be approaching?  My goodness! We only cut into programming around 18 hours per year, that is 18 hours out of 8,760 hours per year which means we only cut in .0015 of programming. Yes, everyone gets to watch 99.999% of their programs.

Have a great Wednesday!


Next few days: less humid and on the cooler side

Good Tuesday morning Bloggers,

How about those thunderbooms last night?  They were loud!

This pattern the past few days will shift east and we are in store for cooler afternoon daytime highs and cool overnight lows temperatures.

Today’s temperature planner: Daytime highs will be slightly below average with a high temperature of 83° (average 87°)



World Cup Watch Party Forecast:  Perfect outdoor weather!

watch party forecast

Next three days: 70-degree days for the 2nd and third days of July! Overnight lows also approximately 10-degrees below average.

3day forecast

Independence Day:  Daytime highs will be warmer with highs in the low to mid 80s. Weather should be dry for the fireworks.

Independence Day Weekend: A few shower and thunderstorm chances with highs in  the mid to upper 80s.  As the long weekend gets closer we will have a better handle on your holiday weekend forecast.

holiday weekend


Have a great day!



Hot & Possibly Severe Weather

Good morning bloggers,

The high humidity will again be available as fuel and energy for the potential thunderstorms later today.  The Storm Prediction Center has once again placed a large moderate risk area over the region:


You can click on the map for a larger view. Out ahead of an advancing cold front it will heat up today. Temperatures have not gone above 90° at KCI Airport yet this year, but it may do so today. The humidity is again going to be extreme, so there likely is an upper limit to the temperature rise, but the lower or middle 90s are possible today ahead of a strong summer cold front. Thunderstorms will likely form over Iowa first, and then back build into our area by this evening with severe weather a possibility again.  How does this all fit the LRC? You can read about it on the Weather2020 blog.

Kansas City Weather Forecast Time-Line:

  • Today: Dry with no chance of thunderstorms through 4 PM. High humidity with temperatures warming to between 90° and 94°
  • After 4 PM: An increasing chance of severe thunderstorms. There are still uncertainties and we will be on at 4, 5, and 6 PM as we identify the risks and track any developing thunderstorms.

Our weather team will be monitoring this closely today and we will update the blog later this afternoon as this begins to develop.  Have a great day!  Keep your eye to the sky and let us know what you experience.


Weekend Storms – Sunday running blog

11:50p Update
The NWS just cancelled the rest of the Tornado Watch. All clear for the night!

11:20p Update
As you know by now, it turned into a busy evening for the area. Several reports of tornadoes near Atchison. Here’s a large view of the reports:

And then a closer look of the Atchison area itself. The reports I have seen involve small trees & power poles knocked. Outside of that, no major damage. I am also very surprised by the lack of large hail reports. We had a few nickle to quarter size reports, but that was about it. I did see a report of a barn damaged in Mercer County.

The last of the storms are falling apart as we speak. The Tornado Watch does remain in place until 1am, but I am expecting that to be cancelled over the next hour or so.

Turning attention to Monday… there are indications some rain and a few t-storms may still be lingering to near Marshall to start the day. Then, in the afternoon, a cold front will start to push into the region. This could spark off more showers and storms. Already the SPC has us in a Slight Risk for severe weather tomorrow:

Given the timing of the front and the heat of the day, I’d say we’re back in that 4p-7p window for storm development. That said, it’s possible the leftover outflow boundaries from tonight mess with that a little bit. We’ll obviously have to look over things in the morning and see what’s changed.
The 00z NAM wants to put a small line into the area around 3p, while the RPM holds off until about 7p.

RPM for 7p Monday:

I will be off on my usual weekend the next two days. Of course, I will continue to monitor the weather as well. I do get to have a root canal tomorrow, so that will be fun!  Thanks for sticking with the blog this weekend and for watching our coverage. I realize that not everyone was in the path of these storms and it may have been upsetting to have your regular programming stolen away. But as we saw tonight, the threat for tornadoes was there and if it was you or your family in the path, you’d expect the coverage to be there. Until the day comes where technology allows us just to warn homes in the path of a storm, this is how it has to be. Thank you for understanding.

Enjoy your week ahead. I’ll be filling in for Kalee later on this week. See you then.

7:45p Update
I will be doing TV updates during commercial breaks tonight on NBC. About to go on with another. Be watching for the latest.

6:45p Update
Tornado Watch issued until 1am. It DOES include the KC Metro area. This means the conditions are favorable for tornado development. It does NOT mean that one is promised to happen. Keep it on 41 and we’ll keep you informed.
2 PM

6:30p Update
The SPC has released a discussion talking about the potential for a new Watch to be issued:

They currently feel there is a 40% chance that a new Watch will be put out. *IF* they decide to issue one, it would likely include the KC area. Meanwhile, storms continue to develop North of Topeka.

6:05p Update
Activity continues to grow on the radar. As mentioned, we’re now in the that “evening magic” window where the cap weakens and storms will take off.
In order for this to impact KC, we’ll need to see some growth on this to the South of I-70. Otherwise, it will cruise to the NE and target the St. Joseph area. It is possible this gets caught up in the upper winds and pushed East in the next few hours. Right now, it’s still fresh and developing so we will continue to monitor.


5:30p Radar Update
At this time, things are fairly quiet on the radar. Subtle indications that the cap (invisible lid in the atmosphere that keeps the storms at bay) may be starting to weaken around the Topeka/Manhattan areas. Notice those little blips? Infant storms in the process of growing.

4:10p Update
The SPC has hoisted a Tornado Watch until 11pm for a portion of our viewing area. It does NOT include Kansas City or St. Joseph. It’s appearing more and more like the strongest storms tonight will remain in Iowa. That said, I believe there is still a good chance for storms to develop around Manhattan/Topeka later this evening that would try to push East. Still looking at about a 9/10p time frame for Kansas City.
2 PM

3:30p Update
Have you noticed a few breaks in the clouds? It’s happening. Let’s take another gander at the visible satellite:

From the cumulus clouds I have seen on our skyview cameras, the vertical grow is lacking.
The NWS launched a special sounding today and according to that data, there is a weak cap in place. This via the NWS: “Soundings out of Topeka and KCI indicate strong cap in place, but it is eroding. Still a few hours from seeing storms”

This would bode well with the HRRR model, which is suggesting a storm or two gets fired up near Manhattan around 6p or so. This is right around the time when the atmosphere tends to destabilize; when I worked in Wichita, we called it “7 o’clock magic”. Because like magic, storms would just start to appear right around 6:30 to 7:00.
Should this happen tonight, it’s possible a discrete cell or two will form and progress to the East. The very latest run of the RPM is also picking up on this finer feature.

Latest run of the HRRR for 10p tonight:

And on the radar right now, we have this:
Just a small bit of activity near Mound City, moving quickly to the East.

So as it stands now, we will continue to wait and see if something develops later on near Manhattan. I will have a full forecast update tonight at 5p on 41 Action News. Something you might be interested to know: we’re in for a nice shot of cool air. Find out when at 5p.

1:30p Update
Getting a look at the midday information now. Before I show that to you, let’s look at the satellite:
Still a pretty fair amount of cloud cover over our area. Again, this reduces the amount of direct sunshine (heat) the lower levels of the atmosphere will get. The less heat, the less likely we are to induce rising motion in the atmosphere. The above image is static and will not change later in the day. Below, however, is an animated radar loop. It will continue to update automatically though the day.

As of this update, it’s a very quiet radar across the area.

The 15z runs of various models are staying consistent with developing storms near Kansas City later tonight, after about 7p. First up, the short-range HRRR:
As you can see, this is from the 16z run and is valid for 03z tonight (10p). It depicts that cell to the SW of Olathe developing after about 8p and moves it to the South it. You will also notice a few smaller storms in Northwest Missouri. The HRRR pushes this activity to the SE and tapers it off fairly rapidly.

Here is the 15z run of the RPM:
Similar idea to the HRRR but a little more widespread with the stronger rain and storms. This would be at 10p tonight as well. Like the HRRR, it quickly slides everything to the Southeast.

The high-resolution NAM model from 12z this morning has shown up. It still maintains that stronger, more aggressive look:
In a way, this is almost a blend of the RPM and the HRRR. But keep in mind, this model run is technically older and theoretically less valid than the newest data.

I will continue to look over all the latest info and analyze the radar/satellite. Obviously, with the cloud cover in place, the odds of hitting highs in the 90s is quite low. This is one of the reasons why I put us at 89 degrees for a high today last night at 10p. Even so, that may be a struggle given the clouds. But I’d rather miss the forecast high by 3-4 degrees than deal with damaging severe weather. Just my opinion.

11:00a Update
We start off with a bit of good news: storms that developed overnight across Kansas have left a considerable amount of cloud cover over our area. This is doing a good job of blocking out the sun. With less sunshine, we won’t be adding to instability (thus reducing chances for severe weather).

Allow me to say that again: reducing chances for severe weather. This does not suddenly mean we will NOT have storms in the area. Matter of fact, the SPC is still holding on to their revised Moderate Risk outlook for today.

Two things should be noted from this: 1) It does NOT include the KC Metro area; not in the Moderate Risk category anyway. Kansas City Metro remains in the Slight Risk section where it has been. 2) Reading the SPC discussion they use phrases like “WITH SOME RELUCTANCE…WE ARE RETAINING PROBABILITIES” and “POTENTIALLY CRUCIAL CAVEATS AND UNCERTAINTIES ARE  APPARENT”. What does all that mean? Like we discussed last night: this remains a fluid situation and is like a domino effect. We are waiting for that first domino to fall. Once it does when then have to wait and see if it hits the next domino. It’s a series of steps and nothing is “for sure” at this point. Like I said last night, I truly would like to be able to deliver a more certain forecast as opposed to the ol’ “wait & see”. But this is the mood the atmosphere is in and we have to play by its rules.

You may be asking: “What do the models suggest?”. As been the case, the models still appear to be struggling with this as well. That said, there finally seems to be a bit of a consensus from the 12z runs. What is that consensus? That nothing big will happen at all in our area today.

Here’s the 12z NAM for 7p tonight:
That’s about as active as it gets. For the 10p timestep it does show a few showers over the Metro, but nothing impressive at all.

Here’s the 12z RPM for 7p tonight:
A tad more active but only indicating a few storms in the area around 7p.

The hourly HRRR model from 14z shows this by 6p tonight:
It appears somewhat similar to the RPM, hinting at a few cells to the West of Kansas City.

Now again, these are just guides. The models have had a hard time with this stuff lately so I am not putting all my eggs into this basket just yet. But I would have to believe with the morning cloud cover and the light rain ongoing between Salina, Topeka, Wichita…
…that our odds for big-time severe weather may be decreasing by the minute. Toss in the loose wording of the SPC, and it sounds like this house of cards could fall apart in seconds. What we may have to watch for is returning sunshine this afternoon. Should the activity in Central Kansas now rapidly fall apart and the sky clears, any sunshine we receive would aid in the destabilization of the atmosphere. There would still be time to get the frying pan going and cook up some storms by the 6-8p timeframe. And perhaps this is what the RPM and HRRR are cluing in on.
Luckily for us, the RPM model outputs what the clouds may look like later today (and has a decent track record of it):
And wouldn’t you know… it says by 4:30p we start to clear out and the sunshine returns. Once again, this is just ONE model (one opinion). But there is a developing trend that strong storms won’t be in KC until after 7p.

I believe at this point we are still in a holding pattern. Meaning: don’t cancel outdoor plans just yet. Go ahead and go do whatever it is you plan to do today. It appears most of the afternoon should be fine for KC. Indications are the best window for storms may not be until between 7-10p tonight. But I encourage you to stay updated on the weather and once again be kind enough to alert friends and family who may not be as tuned-in as you are. For the couple dozen of you that read this blog, you are weather junkies and you have a jump on most people. Share the knowledge, the info you’ve picked up from reading this blog. That said, there is still a fuzzy line from sharing what you’ve read, to making your own forecasts. Many avid weather watchers can read model charts. But as we’ve seen, that doesn’t mean they are right. Also make sure you know specific weather terms before tossing them on social media and/or to friends. It can be very easy to inadvertently cause panic and fear in someone else simply by using a term or word that isn’t correct.

Just some food for thought, not trying to “scold” anyone. We’re all weather geeks and have a passion for this stuff. But we need to treat it like plutonium sometimes: handle it carefully.

I will continue to update the blog today as time allows. We have a 5p & 10p newscast today. Should activity break out in a more widespread fashion, I will likely get a live web stream going. If/when that happens, I’ll post an update. Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your Sunday.

Sunday Severe Chance

Good Morning Bloggers!

A great start to the day with mix of sun and clouds and comfortable temperatures in the upper 60s and lower 70s.  We have to watch for showers and thunderstorms to move in later on this afternoon.  We are under a slight risk for severe weather for the KC Metro area and a Moderate Risk for St. Joseph northward.  Here is a look at the SPC Outlook:


Right now there are showers and thunderstorms moving through Central Kansas and these were not picked up by the models.  We have to keep an eye on these as they move closer and this could be our storms later on this morning and early afternoon.  Here is a look at radar as of 7:30 AM:


The other scenario that could play out is the storms that are beginning to form in Nebraska plunge south later on this afternoon and move in between 1 pm and 7 pm this evening.  This time frame is when everyone should be paying close attention to the weather.


The main threats will be straight-line winds and large hail with the storms that move in later on this afternoon.  We will continue this active weather pattern through Tuesday morning before we have a nice calm holiday week.  Wednesday through the Fourth of July look AMAZING with low dew points and comfortable afternoon high temperatures in the lower 80s.   Looking out toward next weekend, we could see a few thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday, but it is still very far out.  We will keep an eye on this throughout the week.

More updates on weather from JD later on.

Kalee Dionne

Weekend Storms – A running blog

1:05a Update
The SPC has updated their outlook for Sunday. In doing so, they have now placed the Northern section of our viewing area into the Moderate Risk zone. This means there is higher confidence in seeing some larger storms.

I still believe the afternoon timeframe is on track. But this new update from the SPC leads me to believe they are buying more into a solution like the RPM was spitting out: a large bowing segment dropping into the area, which would produce damaging winds over 70mph and perhaps large hail. To be honest, a few tornadoes would be possible as well, perhaps right along the state line. At this point, it’s still a bit too soon to nail down those features. But signals are pointing to a larger risk of severe weather just to the North of KC.

Kalee will be working later this morning and will have a forecast update during the morning newscast.
I will look over the 12z info and give another update in the late morning. I will then likely head to the station so that I can be on-site and prepared for whatever the atmosphere tosses at us.

9pm Update
Getting a first look at the new information for tomorrow. The first thing I’m thinking is: highly conditional. The 00z NAM model remains very quiet for us. It is suggesting that a quick little shower grazes though NW Missouri in the afternoon. Here is just one image, for the 4p timeframe.

On the other side of the coin, the RPM model is still screaming for storms in the area. This is the second run today to show a large, bow-like swath of storms moving over KC. This is from the 21z model run…

*HOWEVER*. I am just now able to see the output of the 00z run and it has backed off of the storms by a lot. The RPM is flip-flopping every run. I don’t like that. Gives me very low confidence in this model. So the NAM is staying consistent, but strangely quiet. Whereas the RPM cannot make up its mind. This is why JUST relying on the models can be tough.

I think we will get ourselves into another “wait & see” game for Sunday. I don’t like that. I want to give you a better confidence forecast than that. But I truly believe we have to wait and see where the sunshine sets up and then where the initial convection gets going. What does my gut say? I have a strong feeling SOMETHING will drift into our coverage area by the afternoon. And I have a feeling there could be a big storm somewhere; a storm that produces strong winds and perhaps large hail.

What should we takeaway for Sunday? Here’s are a few points to remember:
2 PM

I will leave you with another radar rainfall estimate. This should now be showing all the rain from earlier today. I have included a legend on the left side so you can get a better idea of the color coding.

7p Update
Quickly wanted to share with you the new radar estimated rainfall amounts. These have been updated since the last time I showed them. Pretty impressive numbers in Miami & Linn counties.

And here are the “official reports” from the NWS.
1 PM

As you can clearly see, there is a large spread in the numbers. Rain does not fall in uniform over large areas. Plus, the reporting sites are like little targets. The heaviest of the rain has to fall right into that collection bucket. Seriously, there could be a heavy downpour a block away from one of those rain gauge units and it may only read 0.25″. But a backyard rain gauge right under the heavy downpour shows 2.5″. Huge difference.
Also, while we’re talking about this, it is very similar in the Winter. This is why one person can say they had 8″ of snow at their place, but someone else just a mile away may have only had 2″. Just another reason why forecasting precip is never easy and any/all precip forecasts MUST allow for error. Nobody (man or machine) can predict an exact amount to a given location. All numbers must be used as a guide.

6:00p Update
At this time, the rain has moved out the Metro and we should be dry for the rest of tonight. One tiny cell has tried to redevelop near Leavenworth, but is already falling apart.
Heavier storms continue on the Eastern edge of our coverage area. This, however, continues to move East and as we go through the evening, it will decrease. I expect a bulk of the Severe Thunderstorm Watch to be cancelled soon.

4:40p Update
Reports via viewers and the NWS indicate some lucky locales picked up an inch to 1.25″ of rainfall. Early radar estimates are showing 1 to 1.6″ mainly South of the Metro. But this does not include what’s falling right now. I will have rainfall updates tonight at 10p. In the meantime, the back edge of the rain is getting closer to KC. We should be rain free in KC around 6p.

4:25p Update
No severe weather at this time, but storms may occasionally produce winds near 50mph. That’s enough to bring down some small tree branches and move around lightweight patio furniture. On the radar image below, notice the clearing to the West. Once this activity passes, we should be done for the night. But as I mentioned in my original update, we have another chance for severe weather again tomorrow afternoon.

The RPM forecast model is posted below, showing how the radar MAY look at about 7:30p tomorrow. As always, this just a model, it should be used as a guide and not a definite outcome of what will happen. The takeaway? Bowing storms out of Iowa, which would lead to some very strong winds. It is worth nothing, the RPM lately has been off by about two hours. So while this is saying 7:30p, something tells me it may happen a little sooner than that. In any event, this is all conditional on where convection sets up in Iowa tomorrow midday. The slightest change will alter everything.

3:25p Update
Thunderstorms off to the South and East of the Metro KC area will continue to move to the NE. I’ve circled the wide area of just rain that is now heading for the greater Metro area. Those who have not seen rain yet likely will as this advances closer.

2:30p Update
A Severe T-Storm Watch has been issued until 9pm tonight.
2 PM

2:25p Update
T-Storms are on the Eastern side of the Metro, getting set to impact those at the stadium watching the Royals. A fair amount of thunder & lightning in those storms as well. Meanwhile, about 65 miles to the SW, there is a wall of rain headed this way. I expect the t-storms to continue to move to the NE and produce small hail (near pea size) at gusty winds near 50mph. Already reports of power outages in Belton.
The rain to the SW will push this way as well and I expect that to show up in the Metro around 4:30p or so.


1:15p Update
Keeping this quick for right now. I just got into the station about 20 minutes ago. I am looking at all the new info as it’s coming out. On the way in, the clouds were certainly a lot thicker than they were a couple hours ago. This could be a GOOD thing. Limiting the amount of sun that hits the Earth will result in less energy being available for bigger storms.
Here’s the current satellite image…

And here is the radar:

Earlier this morning, the SPC was thinking about issuing a T-Storm Watch for part of the area. As of this writing, they have yet to do so. Below is their previous image showing what area they were referencing.

On another note. I do not think we are 100% in the clear for Sunday. The SPC has just added a Moderate risk area in Iowa. Latest models are showing storms dropping out of Iowa into our region by Sunday afternoon. Indications are they could be strong to severe.

While I hate to be the one to squash anyone’s weekend plans, the fact is: we have chances for storms. I encourage you to keep updated on the forecast *AND* be kind enough to alert others. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a weather junkie and already have a leg up on most people. But your brother, sister, aunt, uncle, next door neighbor, etc may not. Before they throw a massive pool party or something of that nature, make sure they know what the forecast looks like.

I’ll be on air with the latest at 5 & 6p tonight. I will try to update this blog post when I can throughout the weekend. You can also get updates from me on Twitter. Be safe.