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


Hurricane Season Will Be Active With Multiple United States Landfalls

Good morning bloggers,

Weather2020 has completed a 17-year analysis of hurricane seasons and this provides the confidence to make accurate weather forecasts for the prediction of tropical storms and hurricanes.  This is going to be a very active year around the United States and we already know the likely tracks of many potential tropical storms of which a few will strengthen into hurricanes.  There is a hot spot as I will show below. Here is the press release going out. Go to Facebook or Twitter and share it with your friends to help spread this important information:

Press Release

The hot spot for this season, issued in December, is targeting this area:

Hot spot

In January, I spoke at the AMS conference in Austin, TX showing the likely track of one of the signature tropical systems that is likely going to form in each LRC cycle, but the strongest will be likely in late August or early September. There are many others that we have identified as well, and we are forecasting at least seven named storms to affect the United States with four hurricanes and potentially two major hurricanes making landfall most likely in this hot spot.  The tropical waters are still a bit too cool to support the development of any significant tropical activity,  but this will change dramatically in the next two to three weeks as water temperatures rise.  Water temperatures really need to be 80 degrees or higher and they are just getting to that level right now.  There is a tropical system right in the middle of the hot spot right now, and when this part of the pattern cycles back through in 47 and 94 days, then it will produce a good chance of a tropical storm or hurricane.  We have been targeting the end of May for a different system to track near or west of Florida. And, this is the one I presented to my peers in May to be a major storm in late August.

This Weeks Weather

The northeast just got hit by a major severe weather outbreak in the past two days, one of the biggest of the season. And, this is directly related to an outbreak that happened on March 28th, or 47 days earlier.  One of the biggest outbreaks of the year occurred on April 3rd, and this lines up with this weekend.  Let’s take a look:


The set up for Saturday in the upper levels is quite similar to what has happened in each LRC Cycle this year, so four other previous times. We are in the fifth cycle of this years pattern. Let’s see how this sets up for Saturday evening.  Kansas City may have a few rain showers later today, but the drought continues to build overhead and there is one month left of what would be considered our wettest 30-day stretch on average.  There are chances showing up, but as we all just experienced; we just got missed again, like we did all winter long.

Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • Today:  Sunny this morning with cumulus clouds growing and building later this morning through the afternoon. A weak upper level storm will move overhead tonight and this will likely help produce a few showers and possibly even a thunderstorm. The chance at any one location is up to 30%, but many areas will likely stay dry again today. High:  80°
  • Thursday:  Mostly sunny with late morning through afternoon clouds. High: 81°

Thank you for sharing in this weather experience featuring Weather2020 and the cycling pattern.  Go over to the Weather2020 blog to join in the conversation.


Somehow Kansas City Gets Missed Again

Good morning bloggers,

You can’t make this up.  This years LRC continues leave us baffled.  The thunderstorm activity yesterday is just another chapter on this years weather pattern that left Kansas City with only 7.7″ of snow for the entire winter. Oh, we were not alone in the lower snowfall totals:

  •  Amarillo, TX had no snow for the first time in their recorded history. They average 17.8″
  • Dodge City, KS had 3.6″ of snow (21″ average)
  • Wichita, KS had 2.0″ of snow (14.9″ average)
  • Oklahoma City, OK had 0.4″ of snow (7.6″ average)
  • St. Louis, MO had 7.1″ of snow (17.7″ average)

So, Kansas City was not alone in the lack of snowfall. We share this statistic with many cities in our region.  But, last nights rain was just ridiculous.  A whopping 0.02″ fell at KCI Airport. Thunderstorms formed just east of the city and organized into a complex of thunderstorms one county away before it tracked to the Mississippi River near St. Louis by evening.  Then thunderstorms were scattered all over the place. Amazingly, Wichita, KS also got missed with only receiving 0.25″ of rain. Here are the estimated rainfall totals from the past 24 hours:

Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 6.42.22 AM

As you can see, it was most of the Kansas City viewing area that was missed. There were spots that had no rain at all just northwest of the city.  And, look at the next ten day forecast from last nights GFS model:


The drought plagued region to our southwest is forecast to get wet.  This is not a good forecast as we are now moving through what should be the wettest time of the year.  We just keep missing these chances.

Kansas City Weather Timeline:

  • Today: A few periods of clouds mixed with some sun shining through. The chance of measurable rain is less than 20%.  High: 81°
  • Tonight:  Clear with light winds from the north.  Low:  63°
  • Wednesday:  Mostly sunny with a few periods of clouds. High:  81°
  • Thursday:  Mostly sunny with a few afternoon clouds.  High:  81°
  • Friday:  Partly cloudy with a 20% chance of thunderstorms. High: 84°
  • Saturday:  Partly cloudy with a 30% chance of thunderstorms. High:  87°

Have a great day and thank you for sharing in this weather experience featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Go over to the Weather2020 blog and join in the conversation. How does the lack of rain affect you? I grew up in Southern California, so I spent 18 years of my life in a region that had very little rain at times. But, some of my favorite weather memories are from the 1977-1978 and 1978-1979 winters that had tons of rain and exciting weather patterns when I was 16 to 17 years old. In those years Los Angeles had 10 to 15 inches of rain in a month several times.  Kansas City has had under 8′ of rain all year so far.  Right now, frustrations continue to mount for us weather enthusiasts.  There has been very little severe weather, very little rain, and we continue to have to explain how and why things are missing us, instead of the much more exciting explanations of how we will get hit by exciting weather set-ups.