Hit or Miss: Where Will The Thunderstorms Form Today?

Good morning bloggers,

Today is not any easier when it comes to forecasting where thunderstorms will form.  Today, we will go over one scenario of where the thunderstorms are most likely going to form later today. Let’s begin with what has happened in the past few days near Kansas City.

Three Periods Of Hit or Miss

KCI Airport has had three rounds of showers and thunderstorms in the past few days.  The first one produced 0.01″; the second one produced 0.08″; and last night produced 0.34″ from that big thunderstorm that blasted areas of the northern KC metro area with some hail, strong winds, and over an inch of rain in a few spots.  But, KCI was not alone in the getting “missed” so far in what could have been, and still may be a very wet five day stretch.  Overland Park, KS has also had these three low amounts from the three rounds. At Johnson County Executive Airport in Olathe, KS, the amounts were 0.11″, .05″, and .06″.  Last nights thunderstorms fell apart over Johnson county on the Kansas side and barely got the ground wet in spots.

Storm Totals from last few days:

  • Lawrence, KS:  1.09″
  • KCI Airport:  0.43″
  • Lee’s Summit, MO:  0.39″
  • Johnson County Executive Airport:  0.22″
  • Overland Park:  0.18″

Let’s see if we add to these totals tonight or Saturday.  Here is today’s rather disorganized set-up:


Plotting this surface forecast map was not easy. Let me try to make sense out of it.

  • The red dashed line shows where there is a capping layer aloft around 6,000 to 10,000 feet above us.  This cap may hold until 5 or 6 PM or later.  If it does break, then that would happen near the black dashed line over western Kansas. That black dashed line is a weak surface trough and the weak convergence, where the winds come together, may be just enough to help break the cap. Plus it will get rather hot out there.
  • The low pressure area is forecast to develop over northern Nebraska with a very weak warm front extending out into northwestern Iowa. This is the most likely area for development

Thunderstorms are most likely going to form around 4 to 8 PM over northern Nebraska. Conditions are then favorable for these thunderstorms to form into an MCS (Mesoscale Convective System), or complex of thunderstorms. This complex would ride southeast and may turn south. This has to be monitored very closely.   There may be other boundaries left over from yesterday, but I just don’t see them right now.


The SPC has been very aggressive with their outlooks and watches. There was severe weather yesterday in many spots, however, just nothing “wild and out of control”. Most of the reports were marginally severe. And, there wasn’t one tornado.


There was a moderate risk of severe thunderstorm in the upgrade yesterday, and it does appear that it verified over south central, KS as you can see in the reports above. Here is what the SPC is saying about today:

From the SPC: “Severe thunderstorms with wind damage and hail are possible Friday afternoon into Friday night across parts of the central plains and lower to middle Missouri Valley eastward into the middle to upper Mississippi Valley. Marginally severe thunderstorms with strong wind gusts may also impact parts of the Gulf Coast and eastern U.S.”  

They go on into their discussion to talk about this set-up today. We just have to monitor any break of the cap and my attention will be focused farther north. This should allow for a dry day in Kansas City with any thunderstorm potential holding off until after 9 or 10 PM which will depend on the development over Nebraska and Iowa. It is not easy forecasting these thunderstorms is it?


The SPC then goes on to have another enhanced risk on Saturday. There will be an organizing cold front that will slice through a rather hot and humid, juicy airmass.

The risk on Saturday is really going to be confined along a cold front that will e near Kansas City by 5 PM.  Some of the models produce a solid line of thunderstorms, and others have it moving through dry until late evening, after it has passed KC. But, it is more complex than I am trying to describe here. We will look more in-depth into Saturday on 41 Action News and in tomorrow mornings blog.

Have a great day. You can join in the conversation over at Weather2020.com. We will be opening comments on the KSHB blog in a couple of weeks. Thank you for reading and spending a few minutes of your day reading the blog.


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