May Day! Severe Weather Risks & Morning T-Storms

Good morning bloggers,

Kansas City Weather Timeline:

  • Today: Early morning thunderstorms will quickly move out. It will be dry the rest of the day. Expect periods of clouds with a high in the middle to upper 70s.
  • Tonight:  Any severe weather risk stays way north and northwest of KC. It may clip northwestern Missouri with severe thunderstorm by around 3 to 6 AM.
  • Wednesday:  Partly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms. A few may be severe, more likely Wednesday night.

An active three days of weather has started, and there are some pretty significant severe weather risks lining up beginning today.  There are morning thunderstorms near KC at 7 AM.  Take a look at the radar:

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 7.00.08 AM

IMG_3414These were high based cumulonimbus clouds.  The bases were around 6,000 to 8,000 feet up. These were effective lightning producers but only 0.10″ of less is expected as they move through. Bigger thunderstorms are likely in the next few days.  Storm chasers are heading into the United States plains from around the world as it has been a rather quiet season thus far. This weeks severe weather risks are right on schedule as predicted by applying the LRC cycle length to the pattern.  Now, how will it set up? Where are the biggest risks?  The Storm Prediction Center has the severe weather risks for the next few three days as shown on these next three maps.  Let’s take a look, beginning with todays surface forecast map that I just plotted, and then the tornado risk from the SPC, and then showing the severe weather outlooks for Wednesday and Thursday:


This is the surface forecast map valid at 7 PM this evening.  The dashed black line showcases where storm chasers should be headed today.  This risk is not in our viewing area until the thunderstorms go through a transition and approach northwest Missouri well after midnight into early Wednesday morning.  The SPC has the tornado risk into northwest Missouri, so we will pay close attention later tonight, but it would be coming into our area after they have weakened a bit.


The above map from the SPC shows the potential for strong tornadoes near the KS/NE border this evening, and this map below shows the risk for tomorrow:


From the SPC:  Severe thunderstorms are expected across parts of the southern and central plains mid-day Wednesday through the overnight. Large hail, damaging winds, and a few tornadoes will be possible. This Day 2/Wednesday convective outlook presents a challenging forecast scenario, owing to the subtle nature of multiple impulses advancing across the Plains within a corridor of weakly anticyclonic flow.  Most guidance indicates this evolution will result from continued digging of the western US trough on Tuesday, with subsequent closed low development within the broader trough. In turn, rising heights over the Plains who’ll yield weak ridging aloft by Wednesday morning. At the surface, a front is forecast to extend from western Kansas to Wisconsin, while a dry line will be positioned from the front in Kansas south into Texas.  A weakening/veering low-level jet is expected to extend across eastern Kansas Wednesday morning. Through the late morning and afternoon, though, a low-level flow should back slightly ahead of a triple point over southern Kansas. In turn, increasing warm advection and convergence is expected to support convective initiation over parts of southern and central Kansas. Meanwhile, southerly flow will transport dew points in the mid-60s over the area, supporting moderate mixed-layer buoyancy by afternoon. Organized by southwesterly mid-level flow fo around 45-55 knots, severe cells should become severe, initially capable of large hail and damaging winds. Mode evolution, discrete cell potential, remains questionable with this earlier convection, as the orientation of the larger-scale pattern and resultant veered 700 mb flow may encourage straight hodographs, or perhaps one counter-clockwise curvature in mid-levels.  Therefore, storms may grow upscale into eastward-advancing linear segments, with damaging winds as the primary threat over parts of central/eastern Kansas. Concurrently, any higher tornado potential may not increase until late evening, as the low-levle jet increases, and convective bands potentially acquire embedded rotating elements.

Whew, what a discussion.  We are experiencing a unique set up. Every year is different, unique, and this set up has its own challenges for forecasters. We will know more in the next few hours. This morning band of thunderstorms was moving through as I was writing this, and now we will wait on the new data and continue our discussion on Weather2020s blog.

Here is the risk for Thursday, which has a much different look than Wednesday. We will be concerned with Thursday after we get past these next couple of days.


St. Joseph, MO has had its driest beginning to any year in their recorded history.  Look at this very low total as May begins!



We need the rain, but will it come with big thunderstorms? Go over to the Weather2020 blog:  Click here for the Weather2020 blog and we will continue our discussion over there as we share in this weather experience featuring the LRC.  Have a great day!


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