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The Monsoon – Tropical Storm Hector – And Why Southern California Weather Is Beautiful & Boring

Good morning bloggers,

I will be leaving for Kauai, Hawaii tomorrow morning.  And, while I am there a potential hurricane will be heading west on a track that will most likely end up south of the Hawaiian Island chain.  Kauai is the farthest west island, and the mountains go just high enough, around 5,000 feet, that the orographic lifting (Mountain lifting) creates conditions for some of the wettest weather on earth.  The most precipitation in the United States and the world falls at Mt. Waialeale on Kauai in Hawaii. It rains an average of 460 inches a year on the tropical island mountain. The mountain peaks at just over 5,000 feet, which is just perfect for creating the conditions for these wet conditions. It is also perfect to create the conditions for too much rain, like what happened early this year, just a few months ago when 28″ of rain fell in less than 24 hours.  The post office on the north shore just opened this week, and now they have this threatening the island:

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This map above shows the Hawaiian Island chain being threatened by a major hurricane within a week.  I will be on that farthest west island of Kauai, which is just north of the system as you can see here clearly.on our analysis there is about a 50% chance this system tracks south of the islands, and close to a 50% chance it tracks north of the islands.  Either way, it will be an interesting storm to watch and monitor, especially since I will be there.  Kauai is that farthest west island. The one where the volcanic eruptions have been ongoing is the farthest west and largest island.  Hawaii rarely takes direct hits from hurricanes.  In 1992, the same year that south Florida was devastated by CAT 5 Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Iniki blasted the island that I am going to, Kauai with 140 mph winds, and the condo that I am staying out was pretty much destroyed.  Iniki stayed over the warmer waters, that are located south of Hawaii, and then turned north right into Kauai.  Hopefully Hector doesn’t quite do that.  Let’s monitor this closely as it becomes a hurricane and tracks west.

I am in Southern California right now in my home town of Los Angeles.  The summer monsoon has been producing some spotty showers and thunderstorms the past few days.  These thunderstorms are most likely over the mountains due to what is called orographic lifting, or rising air caused by the mountains.  The thunderstorms also form over the deserts, but rarely over the populated areas of Southern California near the coast. Why?  Look at these next two pictures I snapped:

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In areas near the Atlantic coast and Gulf coast, the water is warm and the humidity is high. This supports unstable air and thunderstorms form much easier. In Southern California, the Alaskan current flows south down the west coast with cool water being transported in from cool northeast Pacific Ocean.  This creates a stable lower layer and prevents the conditions favorable for thunderstorms.  The stable stratus clouds can be seen in both of these pictures, with the monsoon moisture above. The bright white cirrus cloud is actually an indication of the monsoon moisture.  Due to the strength of the upper level high height area, the thunderstorms have been spotty and weak over the mountains and deserts this week.

Rainfall Forecast: Next 15 Days

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Look at the rainfall forecast above closely.  And, notice how 2 to 4 inches of rain are forecast just southeast of San Diego.  This is and example of why it was always so frustrating for me as a young child growing up in LA.  Or, actually I didn’t know any better, and I thought the thunderstorms over the mountains with anvils occasionally spreading out over the coastal sky was exciting.  Once every few years, the monsoon would be strong enough to break through and produce rare coastal rain and thunderstorms, but that stable Pacific Ocean caused cooler lower layers often messed it all up.

Kansas City Weather:

It looks like there are a few light sprinkles or showers early this morning. These will fall apart, and then it will heat up into the 90s the next few days. The drought continues to worsen in our local area, while other areas just to our west have been getting adequate moisture.  The next decent chance of thunderstorms may arrive early next week. Jeff will get you updated over the weekend.  I will check back in from Hawaii in a few days.

Have a great day, and thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather 2020 and the cycling pattern. Go over to the Weather2020 blog and let’s share in this weather experience.

Gary

July Statistics Day

Good Wednesday bloggers,

It is hard to believe it is August 1st. The Chiefs have a home game against the Texans next Thursday, time is flying!  The first of August is also know as “July Statistics Day.” July 2018 was quite interesting and we broke a 5 year streak…Finally! On July 12th, we reached 100°, officially at KCI. This had not occurred since September 8, 2013. The lowest temperature of the month occurred the other day, 59°.  Rainfall was 5.29″, 0.84″ below average. This was misleading as some locations had much less rain which I will show below. Also, 3.29″ of the 5.29″ fell in one day, the 18th, when a freaky thin line of torrential downpours stalled over central Platte county.

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Here are the rainfall totals for July 2018 from around the area. Pleasant Hill and South OP saw some decent rain, but look at Downtown KC, 1.05″!  There were many locations that received around 2″ of rain. So, this is why the drought is getting worse. The rain is simply not widespread enough.

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There are almost no chances of rain through Sunday. There is a front to watch early next week that could bring, scattered T-Storms.

A weak cold front will slip into northern Missouri Thursday morning. A few showers and T-Storms will accompany this front, but certainly no drought busters. The front will stall and head north as a warm front Friday.

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Friday will be hot with highs in the low 90s. Then, Saturday will see more clouds as a system that produces thunderstorms from the Dakotas to New Mexico moves through. Yes, we will get clouds and maybe a sprinkle from the system. The next legitimate chance of thunderstorms is Monday-Tuesday with this front. The most likely scenario, no matter what a model shows, is for us to see scattered decent rainfall amounts.

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Here is the rainfall forecast for the next 7 days. The scattered green areas are around .25″ to 1″ and this falls mostly early next week. The shape outlined in yellow shows where the least amount of rain is forecast to occur. Does this shape look familiar? See below.

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The shape should ring a bell. It is in the shape of the current dry areas across the central and southern Plains. This is not a coincidence. These droughts can feed off themselves as not only are we in the same pattern, but the ground is drier, there is less evapotranspiration and so the thunderstorms tend to fall apart or be in lower coverage. Now, that being said, it does not mean we cant’ see one widespread rain event.  So odd.

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Have a great rest of the week.

Jeff Penner

Enjoy the Next Few Comfortable Mornings

Good Tuesday bloggers,

We had another day where there were a few downpours, but coverage was less that 10%. We are on the western fringe of a departing storm system that brought tons of rain to the Plains, but not in our area. It is amazing how the storm has organized to the east and is bringing decent rain from eastern Missouri, eastward. The main rain when all around us!

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Let’s go through the next several days as we see rain chances near zero and temperatures on the rise.

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Lows will once again drop to the upper 50s and low 60s. Enjoy these temperatures as the 90s are around the corner.

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WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON:  A cold front will be approaching from the north as we warm into the mid and upper 80s.

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THURSDAY: The cold front will drift into northern Missouri, produce a few thunderstorms, then become a warm front. Highs will warm to near 90°, with mid 90s to the west. Lows will be in the 60s, so the morning will still be comfortable.

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FRIDAY: The heat is back with highs 95°-100° west and 90°-95° around here. Thunderstorms will form in the high plains Friday night. You know these will not make it to our area.

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SATURDAY: The heat may back off for a day as clouds from dissipated thunderstorms move over head.

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SUNDAY: This is when temperatures will start to really take off as thunderstorms form along I-80 in Nebraska. These thunderstorms will likely track east into Iowa Sunday night and Monday, as the heat builds to the south.

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MONDAY: Highs of 95°-100° will likely be widespread across the central and southern Plains as cooling thunderstorms track into the Great Lakes. A cold front or two may try to drop in during the middle and end of next week.

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Here is a look at the updated rainfall forecast for the next 7 days. You can see we are in the middle of a mostly dry area as the significant rain stays along and north of I-80 and east of the Mississippi river. The drought will worsen for sure.

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Have a great night and Wednesday.

Jeff Penner

Houston…We Have a Problem

Good Monday bloggers,

We have seen one round of rain after another miss eastern Kansas and northern Missouri. Look at these radar estimated rainfall totals since July 25th.

Rainfall amounts have ranged from 2″ to 7″ from western Nebraska to Oklahoma. The drought has been obliterated from these locations.

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Here are the rainfall totals closer to KC, south of I-70. There is a small strip from Garnett, KS to Nevada, MO that has seen 1″-4″ of rain. Otherwise, most amounts have been under 0.50″.

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When we look north of I-70, there is a strip of .50″ to 2″ rainfall amounts from southeast Nebraska to central Missouri. Locations around Moberly, MO received 2″-3″ of rain. Otherwise, amounts were mostly .20″ to .70″.

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In the Kansas City area, rainfall amounts were a colossal disappointment. Rainfall was mostly in the range of 0.10″ to .50″. There were some locations that saw .50-1″ from Leavenworth to Gladstone.  There were even a few blocks in these locations that received around 2″ of rain. Remember, these are radar estimated rainfall totals, so you rain gauge may read different.

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This is the rainfall forecast for the next 7 days. After the few downpours this evening, it is looking dry over the driest areas in the region.  The rain to our west mostly occurs today and tonight. These areas to the west, will be drying out, but they can handle it after all of the rain that has fallen. So, we have a problem as the drought will be worsening the next 10 days.  It is an odd drought as it mainly over eastern Kansas and northern Missouri.

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If it is not going to rain, it might as well be comfortable. Lows Tuesday morning will be in the 50s! However, enjoy it, as the 90s return this weekend.

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Wednesday will see a cold front north of I-80, producing thunderstorms. Thursday this front will limp into northern Missouri before falling apart. This is the only rain chance through the weekend.

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Have a great rest of your week.

Jeff Penner

Dwindling Rain Chances

Good Sunday bloggers,

Once again we had a rain event last night where the main rain tracked well southwest of our area. Scattered showers and thunderstorms occurred across eastern Kansas and western Missouri. We have another chance of rain later tonight and Monday, but it is looking like another scattered event. After this chance, it is looking dry for several days.

Here is the radar from 4 AM Sunday. You can see the main rain falling across southwest and southern Kansas. Scattered downpours were occurring across eastern Kansas and northern Missouri.

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Let’s go through the forecast the next few days and then we will take a look at what this means for the drought.

SUNDAY: The activity from this morning will be moving into southern Illinois and we will once again turn our attention to the west. New T-Storms are likely to form in western Nebraska and northwest Kansas, north of a warm front. These T-Storms will track southeast overnight.

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SUNDAY NIGHT: The T-Storms by midnight will be located from around Salina to Wichita. Remember, they are tracking southeast, so we will likely be on the northeast extension of the main area.

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MONDAY MORNING: We are in the scattered downpour area, much like Sunday morning as the main rain has tracked into Arkansas.

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MONDAY AFTERNOON: It will be partly to mostly cloudy with more scattered showers and T-Storms possible.

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TUESDAY: The best chance of scattered downpours will be shifting east as the system responsible for these rain chances moves away. The Missouri side will have a chance for a few, brief downpours. After Tuesday, the rain chances are near zero for around 5 days.

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RAINFALL FORECAST THROUGH TUESDAY: Here is the rainfall forecast for the last chances of rain for awhile. Our area will be in the none to 1″ category with a nice 1″-3″ event to the southwest where they saw nice rain today.

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Based on what we are thinking for the forecast the next 6-10 days, it is likely we will see worsening drought conditions over most locations. There will be some improvement across southern Kansas as they will have had two nice rain events before this gets updated.

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Hopefully your yard or farm will get a good drink of water by Tuesday.

Have a great week.

Jeff Penner

Still a Struggle for Rain

Good Saturday bloggers,

The weather pattern this weekend is set up for several rounds of widespread rain. This is occurring across the Plains, but not in our area. This is one odd weather pattern. One of the reasons is that the dew points are in the 50s and low 60s. This is how a drought can form. When there is a set up for rain, something always seems to go wrong. This is a weird drought as we have had many rain chances. But, every time we end up with a scattered event or much less than what is on the computer data. The drought has vanished in western Kansas, so it is not like this pattern can’t produce rain.  If we were dominated by an upper level high (anticyclone) our drought would make more sense.

Here is a look at the upper level flow for today. The anticyclone, “heat wave creating machine”, is located over the southwest USA as a series of disturbances are tracking southeast across the Plains. This is a wet summer pattern, and it is, but not really in our area.

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Monday will see the disturbances form into an upper low across eastern Nebraska. This low will track southeast then east and out of the region Tuesday. Again, when you see a map like this at the end of July, you expect decent amounts of rain.

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SATURDAY: We will see scattered showers and thunderstorms around as disturbances in southwest Nebraska and eastern Kansas track across the area. There is a slight chance this ends up being more of an event. We will watch it closely.

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SATURDAY NIGHT: It will be mostly dry this evening as we turn our attention to the west. A warm front will extend east then southeast across Kansas from a low in eastern Colorado. Thunderstorms will likely form near this warm front in northwest Kansas and southwest Nebraska. Whatever forms out there will head our way early Sunday morning.

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Midnight tonight there will likely be thunderstorms moving in to central Kansas. It looks mostly dry this evening across eastern Kansas and western Missouri after any scattered showers and thunderstorms from the afternoon exit.

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SUNDAY MORNING: This is when we have the best chance of widespread rain and thunderstorms. It looks like most of the rain will occur along and south of I-70. The exact track of this round of rain and thunderstorms is still up in the air. It could end up farther south or north by 50-100 miles. Sunday afternoon will see lots of clouds with just a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after the main system moves by.

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MONDAY: The small upper low will be dropping south into Missouri. This will create slow-moving, scattered showers and thunderstorms across the entire region. This will happen again Tuesday, mostly in Iowa and Missouri.

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So, as far as a rainfall forecast, we are looking at the same song and dance. Some locations will receive nothing to 0.50″, others will see 0.01″ to 2″ and a few locations may get lucky and see 2″-4″ of rain. Let’s hope your yard or farm gets the rain it needs by Tuesday, because it looks mostly dry for several days after that day.

Have a great weekend,

Jeff Penner

The Jet Stream Is Reaching Its Weakest Position

Good morning bloggers,

It’s Friday!!  Here we go again. More rain chances, and the drought strengthens.  Here is the drought monitor that came out yesterday.

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The drought that is being experienced near Kansas City is expanding as we move deeper into summer. What is so fascinating is that it ended over parts of southwestern Kansas during the past few weeks.  S and L indicate both short term and long term impacts, and this was just placed over northwestern Missouri. The drought is more extensive over the typically arid southwestern United States, and extending over most of California where some horrible fires continue to rage.

This weekends weather pattern:

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The jet stream is reaching its weakest average strength and farthest north average position.  I plotted the 570 decameter line, which shows the 500 mb pressure at 5,700 feet above the surface.  Look at how far north this line is located over northern Alaska and tracking across Canada and the northern Atlantic. After the first week of August it will begin strengthening and shifting south. There is an anticyclone, or heat wave creating machine located over the southwestern United States.  And, there is a series of disturbances tracking across the plains in northwest flow aloft.  These disturbances will help create areas of thunderstorms this weekend, but will they continue to miss most of our region?  Here is the rainfall forecast from last nights GFS model.

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Have a great day!

Gary

Sunny’s Rain Dance

Good morning bloggers,

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Sunny The Weather Dog was caught in action this morning doing a rain dance. I think it is going to work for the south KC metro area. Farther north and east, in the middle of the worsening drought, is the lease likely area to see rain today.

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The area of rain was increasing, with a few thunderstorms as you can see above, at 7:33 AM.  This band of rain was shifting southeast and it appears to be growing and heading our way. This will create a rather cool summer day in the areas that have the rain into the afternoon with temperatures in the 60s in spots.

Kansas City’s Weather Time-Line:

  • Today: A 90% chance of rain this morning.  Temperatures will drop into the 60s in the areas that get the rain.  It will warm into the 80s over northern Missouri where the rain will miss once again.
  • Tonight: Clearing out with dry conditions. Low:  63°
  • Friday:  Mostly sunny with a few clouds. High: 82°
  • Saturday:  Mostly cloudy with a few showers and thunderstorms possible. The chance of rain is 50%.  High:  80°

I read something fascinating on the Weather Underground blog today.  In our Weather2020 LRC based hurricane forecast, our target area for this season is the northeast Gulf of Mexico.  We have been forecasting, since January, that it would become more active in this region than in most other areas of the Atlantic Basin. It already has with the early Subtropical Storm Alberto, but peak hurricane season is weeks away.  Take a look at the recent interesting conditions over the oceans.

From the Weather Underground Blog:

Gulf Of Mexico Currents loop-current-jul21

Above:  Ocean currents in the Gulf of Mexico as depicted by the U.S. Navy HYCOM model on July 21, 2018.

Above: Ocean currents in the Gulf of Mexico as depicted by the U.S. Navy HYCOM model on July 21, 2018. Colors represent the speed of the current, in centimeters per second. Dark red colors are approximately 1.2 m/s (4 mph) in the Loop Current as it traverses the Florida Straits and up the U.S. East Coast (where it is called the Gulf Stream). The Loop Current was flowing directly from the Caribbean through the Florida Straits and up the east coast of Florida, while an clockwise-rotating eddy that broke off from the Loop Current in ealy July was spinning in the central Gulf of Mexico. A smaller counter-clockwise rotating cool eddy was just to its west, and another clockwise-rotating warm eddy farther to the west. Image credit: U.S. Navy.

There’s potential trouble cooking in the Gulf of Mexico for the coming peak portion of the Atlantic hurricane season: a near-record amount of heat energy in the ocean waters. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are near average, 29° – 30° C (84° – 86° F) in the eastern Gulf, where persistent cloud cover and windy conditions in recent days have acted to keep SSTs from warming to above-average levels. However, SSTs are 30° – 31°C (86° – 88°F) in the central and western Gulf, more than 1°C (1.8°F) above average. That’s a lot of heat in the waters for potential hurricanes to feast on.

Sea Temps sst-jul25

But SSTs don’t tell the whole story. When a slow-moving hurricane traverses a shallow area of warm ocean waters, the hurricane’s powerful winds will churn up cold waters from the depths, cooling the surface and putting the brakes on any rapid intensification the hurricane may have had in mind. But when unusually warm ocean waters extend to great depth—down 100 meters or more below the surface—the hurricane’s churning winds simply stir up more warm water, allowing dangerous rapid intensification to occur if wind shear is low. Last year’s trio of great hurricanes—Harvey, Irma, and Maria—all underwent rapid intensification into major hurricanes when they were located over waters with above-average SSTs, where the warm waters extended to great depth. Thus, total Ocean Heat Content (OHC) is a key metric used to determine the potential for hurricane rapid intensification.

We will be monitoring this closely.  Activity is expected to begin increasing after around the 5th to 10th of August.  There is more on the blog at Weather Underground, so go over to that blog and read more.  Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Join in the conversation on the Weather2020 blog.  Have a great day.

Gary

On The Edge Again

Good morning bloggers,

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While Pennsylvania goes under water with major flooding, the southwest is sizzling with record highs. Phoenix was 115 degrees yesterday and Tucson was 109, both records. The high of 94° in downtown Los Angeles was also a record as the drought continues over the southwest.  In the heartland, well, we are on the edge again.

NAM MODEL RAINFALL FORECAST ENDING FRIDAY MORNING:

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GFS MODEL RAINFALL FORECAST ENDING FRIDAY MORNING:

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The best chance is later tonight into Thursday morning, and most of the models are keeping the access of the rain west of KC.  This means that the least likely area to have any rain at all is in the driest areas northeast of KC.  There is another chance Saturday into Sunday. This second chance  is also targeting areas west and southwest of KC.  Let’s see how it sets up.

The jet stream will be reaching its weakest average strength in the next two weeks.  We are now 100% in the 2017-2018 LRC year. Once the jet stream begins strengthening in mid-August, this is when we begin a slow transition into next years LRC.  By the end of August, we are likely around 95% old LRC and 5% new LRC.  By the end of September we are likely around 75% old LRC and 25% new LRC. And, by the tenth of October it completely flips over and we are then nearly 100% into the new pattern.  The sun setting at the North Pole likely triggers waves of energy that sweep across the Northern Hemisphere, and then by the time it is dark at the North Pole, then the new LRC truly begins, around October 5, 6, or 7 each year.   We just have to hang on for another few weeks.

This cooler summer weather fits the LRC perfectly and it should last another week or two before we have a good chance of one or two more heat waves.  Have a great day and thank you for spending a few minutes of your day sharing in this weather experience featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.  Go over to the Weather2020 blog to join in the conversation.

Gary

The Daily Search for Rain

Good Tuesday bloggers,

The new data is rolling in and there are going to be rain chances Thursday-Sunday as a series of disturbances track in from the northwest. A front will be wavering across the Plains as well. So, these features will produce rain and thunderstorms, but as we know there are going to be locations that receive very little to nothing.

We will go day by day through Sunday with the new data, in the search for rain.

TODAY-WEDNESDAY: Today will be sunny and very nice with lower humidity drifting in on a light north wind. A disturbance will move through Wednesday, but since the humidity will be low, we will see a period of clouds with little to no rain.

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WEDNESDAY NIGHT-THURSDAY: A new disturbance will come in from the northwest and there will be a nice area of rain and thunderstorms from northern Kansas to Iowa, on our doorstep.

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THURSDAY MORNING: The rain and thunderstorms will most likely track to the west of our area. However, we will possibly see some showers move through on the eastern edge of the main area of rain and thunderstorms. We will watch this closely as a slight shift east, or if it can hold together another 5-10 hours, we could see a better rain event.

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THURSDAY AFTERNOON: The large area of rain will shift south and weaken. We will be left with clouds and mild temperatures around 80°.

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FRIDAY: The main rain activity will be organizing in the western Plains. We have a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms on the eastern edge of the main developing area. This main area will impact the weekend.

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SATURDAY: As it stands now, the best chance of widespread rain will be on this day. It also looks like the heaviest will be south of I-70, missing the hard hit drought areas of northern Missouri. If we get this rain in the middle of the day, temperatures will be in the 60s and low 70s!

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SUNDAY: There may be some new rain as the last system moves by.

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RAINFALL FORECAST THROUGH SUNDAY: The latest data is still showing very little rain across northern Missouri. This is an area that desperately needs the rain. South of I-70 has the best chance to see significant rain. We still have these areas in a 0.01″ to 2″ rainfall potential, because even in the locations that see the most rain there have been locations that see under 0.10″. There are also locations in the main rain areas that see over 2″ of rain.

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The data used above is from the 12z Tuesday GFS. There are still many questions on timing and track of these systems. There are solutions where the heaviest rain is north of I-70. There are solutions where the best chance of rain is Saturday night and Sunday.

We will follow this each day. Let’s hope whatever the solution, that all yards and farms receive beneficial rain.

Have a great rest of your week.

Jeff Penner