Thunderstorm Forecast Update

Good Monday night bloggers,

This has been another day with thunderstorms in the forecast that has been tough to figure out. It now looks like we have a decent idea on how this will evolve through the night into Tuesday.

The models are terrible in forecasting precipitation, and especially thunderstorms. Now, the models, especially 6-24 hours out are much better at picking up disturbances moving through the flow. So, it is time to use real meteorology and not just look at precipitation output. Precipitation, and in this case, showers and thunderstorms, form along and ahead of upper level disturbances, waves. Sometimes, the models get confused with precipitation forecasts.

We had a well defined wave that moved to KC around noon and thunderstorms exploded in Jackson county before becoming a severe cluster in central Missouri during the afternoon. This is wave #1. The new 18z data is now picking up on a second wave, now in the Rockies.

Here are the two waves as of 430 PM. The first one is moving towards the Mississippi river, while the second one is over Colorado. The second one is timed to arrive between midnight and 7 AM. So, we are expecting new thunderstorms after midnight and these have the chance to be widespread with a low severe threat.


The thunderstorms in between the two waves are being caused by various boundaries left over from thunderstorms Sunday night and a cold front drifting south. These scattered thunderstorms may be severe at times this evening with large hail and damaging winds the main threats.


Let’s take a look at the latest short range data that seems to have a decent handle on the situation.

MONDAY 8 PM: Wave #1 is in Illinois as wave #2 is moving into western Kansas. You can see the scattered showers and thunderstorms in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Again, some thunderstorms may be severe with large hail and brief damaging wind gusts.


MIDNIGHT: The second wave is quite well defined west of Wichita. Eastern Kansas and western Missouri are still having a few lingering showers and thunderstorms at this time with the severe threat quite low as daytime heating is gone. This second wave will likely move east-northeast and affect our area with much needed rain between midnight and 7 AM. Let’s hope it holds together so we can receive beneficial rain.


TUESDAY 3 AM: This would be great news as widespread rain and thunderstorms overspread the area. The chance of severe weather will be quite low at this time, but wind gusts to 40-50 mph are possible if this is right.



NOW TO MIDNIGHT: Scattered showers and thunderstorms, a few may be severe with temperatures dropping into the 70s

MIDNIGHT TO 7 AM: A good chance of rain and thunderstorms with some wind gusts to 40-50 mph. Total rainfall would be .25″ to 1″ with some locations seeing 2″+. Lows in the 60s.

7 AM TO NOON TUESDAY: Any rain exits quickly leading to a nice day with highs around 80.

If we miss the rain tonight, then chances stay low until the weekend. Now, Wednesday through Friday may see daily scattered showers and thunderstorms, but nothing organized as it stands now.

Have a great night,


We Are Entering The Wettest Time Of The Year On Average

Good morning bloggers,

As Jeff showed yesterday, it is very dry across the plains.  This could change fast, but the pressure is on this next month.  The wettest 30-day stretch on average in Kansas City is from around mid-May to mid-June.  The models continue to show high rainfall amounts in the 3 to 6 inch range during the next 15 days near Kansas City.  A day like today is important for these higher totals.  Today appears to have the best chance of thunderstorms during the work week, and we will look into this set up in just a second. Here are the weather pattern events that are on the LRC potential radar:

  • One of the biggest severe weather outbreaks of the season happened on April 3, 2018.  This part of the pattern cycles through in the next week.  Will it produce again? It has started to show up on some of the models, and it is due back sometime later this week into the weekend.
  • The tropical system in the Gulf forming now is right on schedule, and the one that has been showing up around the 24th to 30th is one of the signature storms we have been monitoring for and it will likely form. It is May, so a tropical depression or a tropical storm is possible, but it is still early. A hurricane this early is almost unheard of, so not expected, but let’s see how it develops. Our forecast of a system forming before the end of the month was issued months ago.  This part of the pattern will cycle back through in mid-July, and then in the late August to early September time frame.  Florida and the northeast Gulf of Mexico is the target
  • This end of the month period is also a period of time we have forecasted the return of the April 12 – April 17 severe weather set-ups.  Expect this part of the pattern to also return about the time that tropical system is developing


Storm chasers are describing this tornado as the tornado of the year thus far. I do not believe there has been a larger or stronger tornado in 2018, which is amazing. This was an EF-3 that grew to a half mile wide at one point.  It missed major structures, which is great news.  KSHB-TV Meteorologist Gerard Jebaily was in 41 Action News Storm Tracker and I was on the phone with him as we watched this large tornado develop.  There is around one month left in tornado season. Severe weather is still possible during the summer months, but traditional tornado season usually ends around mid-June as the jet stream retreats north and summer arrives.  This has been a very inactive year for tornadoes and severe weather. Take a look at these stats from the SPC:
Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 7.14.30 AM

The number of confirmed tornadoes is quite low, but that number will likely grow a bit. Overall, it has been quiet. There is one month left in traditional tornado season.  Let’s see how these set-ups present themselves, beginning with today.


The tornado risk today, shown above, is quite low for a mid-May severe weather outlook like we see below:


The Storm Prediction Center is not expecting or forecasting tornado risks today, but there is a chance that one or two areas will experience some organized severe thunderstorms in clusters with strong winds and large hail being the main risk types.  The models are all over the place with the placement of where the thunderstorms are being modeled to develop. The latest HRRR model runs have had Kansas City getting missed this evening.  My lawn needs some water, and I am sure many of you are in the same boat. Hey farmers out there, let us know how the dry early season has been for your crops. I know it is early, and we would appreciate any insight and information you can provide. Are you concerned?

Kansas City Weather Timeline:

  • Today:  As of 7:45 AM radar showed a thin band of thunderstorms over central Kansas. This is showing a slow moving disturbance moving east and it should be over eastern Kansas by this evening. This is when the best chance of thunderstorms will arrive.  High: 88°
  • Tonight:  A 60% chance of thunderstorms during the evening hours. The chance goes down later.

Have a great start to your day. Go over to the Weather2020.com blog and join in the conversation as we share in this weather experience.


The Struggle for Rain

Happy Mother’s day bloggers,

We are in for another very warm and humid day with little to no rain. This is great news for any outdoor activities, but not so great news for your yard or farm.

We have had a problem with this weather pattern since its formation in October and November. The problem is that when there is a chance of precipitation it often looks like a decent event 2-5 days out. Then, as we get closer to the actual event, the amounts drop off quite a bit. And, guess what, here we go again. We have chances of rain and thunderstorms later tonight, Monday night-Tuesday morning, Wednesday and next weekend. Let’s go over the latest data.

First, where does the Plains stand as far as rainfall for the year? Gary compiled some fascinating statistics for cities around the region.

We are looking at the heart of the drought east of the Rockies. Amarillo has seen less than 1″ of rain all year and remember their snowfall total for the winter was zero! They average about 17″ of snow.


When you shift to central and eastern Oklahoma the drought eases. Oklahoma City and Tulsa are 2″-3.50″ below average and on the edge of the drought.


When we head north to I-80 we see locations such as Grand Island, Omaha and Des Moines are also about 2″-3.50″ below average and on the edge of the drought.


Missouri has quite a rainfall total variety. St. Louis has seen over 17″ of rain, 4″ above average. KC has seen about 10″ less rainfall and we are about 3.50″ below average. St. Joseph has received nearly 14″ less rain this year than St. Louis.


Average rainfall per week across the region is about 1″ west to 2″ east. So, now let’s see if we can get average rainfall the next 5-7 days.

SUNDAY: Once again we have the set up for thunderstorms as a front remains stalled from southwest Kansas to southern Iowa. The warm air aloft (Cap) will hold today, but break a little bit tonight. So, today will be breezy, very warm and humid.


SUNDAY EVENING: Thunderstorms look likely to form in central Kansas. Now, will they make it to eastern Kansas and western Missouri?


MONDAY MORNING: It looks like the thunderstorms will weaken as they move towards KC. We should see some remnants, but we need more than remnants.


MONDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT: The set up is there once again for thunderstorms to form to the west and north along the fronts. It looks like they will form. Also, they will be closer, so as they move east we should see some nice thunderstorms Monday night. But, they may be in a weakening phase.


Tuesday is now looking drier and a bit cooler as the cold front above moves through. A weak system may bring scattered showers and thunderstorms Wednesday, but that is now looking like less coverage. Thursday and Friday are now looking drier.

RAINFALL FORECAST THROUGH FRIDAY: The latest data is suggesting amounts will range from .25″-.75″ to 1″-3″. This means some yards and farms will have beneficial rain and others will not. Where will the heaviest rain occur? Well, this data suggests in the big drought areas to the south. KC would see 0.71″ which is 50% of average for a week, not good. Now, all this being said, this is not set in stone as when you are dealing with thunderstorms the locations can change and the models are not good at picking up these changes.


Have a great week and I hope your yard or farm gets the rain it needs.

Jeff Penner

A Set Up for Widespread Thunderstorms, But….

Good Saturday bloggers,

Today is similar to Friday as we are having scattered morning showers and thunderstorms. The rest of today will be dry, warm and humid.


It is the middle of May which means we are reaching the wettest time of year along with being in the thick of severe weather season. Take a look at this crazy weather set up for today. A front will be stalled basically from western Kansas to northern Missouri and east into Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s north of the front and 80s/90s to the south. This set up in the Plains, this time of year, usually means widespread rain and thunderstorms with severe weather and flooding. Now, we are seeing scattered showers and thunderstorms with little to no severe threat. This is most odd, but we have a “Cap” over this set up. The “Cap” is a layer of warm air at about 10,000 feet. This prevents thunderstorms from forming. So, most thunderstorms this weekend will be along I-80 in the cooler air, while the stalled front stays mostly inactive. Now, we have seen scattered showers and thunderstorms Friday and Saturday mornings, but they have been high based, above the “Cap”, and not associated with the front.



The stalled front and “Cap” remain, so the front will stay inactive. Highs will be in the 80s and 90s south of the front and 50s/60s to the north. Sunday night we will be looking for some thunderstorms to form in the southwest Plains. This is a sign that the “Cap” is breaking as cooler air moves in aloft. Some of these thunderstorms may wander in Monday morning.


Here is the rainfall forecast through Tuesday. You can see most of the rain is from northern Kansas to Iowa into northern Missouri. KC is on the southern edge and most of this rain looks to occur Monday and Tuesday as the “Cap” begins to break.


Here is the rainfall forecast when you add Wednesday-Friday. We are seeing the potential for widespread 1″-4″ rainfall amounts. Let’s see how this evolves, but the front will still be in the area with disturbances wandering out of the Rockies. These features, this time of year, with little to no “Cap” should net daily chances of widespread rain and thunderstorms. The severe threat is low as the flow aloft will be weak. We average about 1.50″ of rain per week, so this rainfall forecast should not be hard to attain given how the pattern is set up.


We need the rain as we are about 3″ below average for the year. KCI is above average for the month, but many locations are not.


Have a great weekend and Happy Mother’s day.

Jeff Penner

Morning Thunderstorms Quickly Moving By

Good morning bloggers,

We have morning thunderstorms. They are elevated, but with a few heavy downpours.   The GFS and the HRRR did the best with this mornings thunderstorm activity, so these will be the models of choice in the next few days.  Here is a picture of Sunny the Weather Dog as the thunderstorms were forming. The bases were pretty high up,  around 10,000 feet. These high based thunderstorms were forming on the edge of the capping layer at around that level.

DSCN4946 (1)

After these morning thunderstorms move by, the potential for redevelopment is rather slim. The GFS model does have a few forming this evening. Again, this model is the only model that picked out this mornings activity the past few days, so we will see about the potential this evening near the front, but the HRRR has this:



The SPC has minimal risks nationwide despite the interesting surface set up. The reason is the fact that the main storm is way out over the western states and it has thrown a ridge over the plains.

Have a great day. Go over to the Weather2020 blog to join in the conversation.


Dry Fronts

Good morning bloggers,

The pattern looks like it should be wet, but instead it continues to be rather dry.  The chance of thunderstorms will increase a little bit after the weekend is over. Between now and then the chances are slight. Take a look at the KC sky this morning:


These bands of higher and middle clouds, high level altostratus, around 14,000 feet above us this morning, indicate that it will be another dry day.  St. Joseph, MO has had 3.62″ of rain this year which is 38% of the average of 9.41″ by todays date.  The surface set up is rather incredible, when you realize the chance of thunderstorms is around 20% at best:


This European Model above shows the dry fronts. Oh, there are areas of precipitation mostly over the higher terrain out west and across the northern plains and upper midwest. The region near the fronts, closer to KC, has very warm air aloft building in around 10,000 feet up and this will likely prevent thunderstorms from forming near the fronts.  By Sunday night and Monday the chances of thunderstorms may go up a bit.

Rainfall Forecast from the Euro Model: Next Ten Days

Screen Shot 2018-05-10 at 6.58.56 AM

Let’s see how this pattern evolves.  Have a great day and thank you for sharing in this weather experience featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.


It Will Likely Get Wet In The Next Few Weeks

Good morning bloggers,

A rather fascinating and unique spring pattern continues to affect the United States.  The pattern features a developing split flow aloft with the Polar jet stream tracking across southeastern Canada, and a southern branch jet stream carving out a trough over the southwestern United States.  Here is a forecast map valid Friday night:


This would usually be a big severe weather set up producer, but we are in the part of the cycling pattern that has featured a storm in each cycle that fell apart and never came out with any strength. The same thing will happen in this cycle. That storm over northern Nevada will likely either spin out west and barely move, or drift farther west and south. This will place a ridging aloft over the plains states and likely limit the severe weather risk.  This pattern will also likely throw up a capping layer of warmer air aloft that will also limit the chance of thunderstorms over the dry areas from the Texas Panhandle northeast to KC.  This next map shows the surface forecast valid Friday evening:


This is quite an interesting and unique set up for this time of the year. I know I have not quite ever seen anything like it with a front this strong and risks this low in mid-May, but it is what we have this year.  The SPC has placed this severe weather risk area near that front on Friday evening.


We will continue to analyze this developing pattern as this sets up in the next few days.  What happens after this weekend is what has my attention.  The LRC sets up in October and then continues through September. We are in the same pattern that produced only 7.7″ of snow in KC all winter long.  The pattern will continue, but the winter version that kicked into gear in late October will be loosening its grip on our dry weather pattern, finally. Last year it got very wet in March and April after a dry winter. This year, it has yet to do so, but we see an opening, a chance that once the flow aloft weakens a bit more, this  pattern may actually begin producing more wide spread heavy rainfall in our area before summer gets here. If you remember, KC had 5″ of rain in the first few weeks of this pattern, in the first 30 days after summer ended and fall began.  I am expecting the last four to five weeks of spring before summer begins to get wet. The models are still fairly dry over the next seven days, but then something may let loose. Confidence is still shaky here, so let’s see how it all sets up. Either this will happen, or the drought will expand.  These next ten days will say a lot. The first half of these next ten days will continue to struggle in the rainfall production, despite so much going on all around us.

Rainfall Forecast Next Ten Days From The GFS Model:


Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Let us know if you have any questions by going over to the blog at Weather2020.com.


It Is Supposed To Rain 1.30″ Per Week In May

Good morning bloggers,

Kansas City averages 5.23″ in May and 5.23″ in June.  The wettest 30 days of the year, on average, is from mid-May to mid-June.  We are entering this period of time now. This means that Kansas City should get around 1.30″ every week at this time of the year.  To get to that 1.30″ of rain in this second week of May, we will need a thunderstorm this evening. The chances of any significant thunderstorm activity over the next few days after today seems rather low at the moment.  Oh, there are chances, but this next storm will become positively tilted and stretch out, getting stuck back to the west until it weakens.  As a result we get this rainfall total forecast over the next seven days:


Most of Kansas is in the under 1″ range.  One of the chances does arrive this evening:


This chance of thunderstorms is between around 6 PM and 10 PM tonight, and then the chance shifts east. A storm approaching now goes from a positive tilt to a negative tilt as it passes by, and then the next storm drops into the west and gets stuck out there for a few days.  This is not good for our rain chances, or for the storm chasers out there.

Todays Video: In this video we look at this current system and the next one dropping into the west

The Morning Blog: May 8 from Weather2020 on Vimeo.

Dates For Severe Weather:

  • April 13-17: Verified
  • April 29-May 4:  Verified
  • Calmer Period May 4 – May 15
  • May 19-20: Forecast related to the April 3rd outbreak
  • End of May-early June: Forecasted

Thank you for sharing in this weather experience featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Have a great day and check out the Weather2020 blog to join in the conversation.


Another Difficult Weather Pattern To Forecast Over The Plains

Good morning bloggers,

I hope everyone is having a great start to the week. The pattern continues to cycle according to the LRC.  We have been forecasting that the last third of the month  of May  has the best chance of being wetter near KC.  The part of the pattern that produced  the April 13-16 stormy period will be cycling back through near the end of the month.  The biggest outbreak of this pattern (the pattern begins in October and lasts through September) happened on April 3rd, and that part of the pattern is due in around the 20th of this month as well.  Between now and then there are some other systems that will potentially have a few severe weather risks, but they aren’t the bigger ones that have happened. We are in the forecast quieter period right now. There are a few chances in this next  7 days, however, but they are quite challenging to the weather forecaster. We will discuss each chance of thunderstorms as they show up from day to day.  Let’s begin today by looking at the past 90 days:

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 3.59.16 PM

The cold April really created the past 90-day anomalies to show up cold from Montana southeast to Missouri. The dry areas across Kansas continued despite some rain events that has caused the drought to contract a bit back over Kansas, across northwest Oklahoma into the Texas Panhandle.  The same pattern has continued the struggle to produce consistent rains to end that drought, and this week will be another test.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 7.08.20 AMThe European Model suddenly went into a rather dry forecast over these next ten days. While it appears to be a somewhat active pattern, the trend on most of the models has been a bit drier. This forecast map on the left shows the European Model rainfall forecast over the next ten days ending on May 17th.  Look closely at that pattern on this forecast rainfall map.  Now, compare it to what has happened over the past 90 days.  It’s as if the same pattern is continuing. Well, we know that it is because the same pattern that setup last fall is continuing to cycle today centered in the 47-48 day cycle range.  There are a few chances for thunderstorms in the next week across the plains. The most likely  areas that will have the heaviest rainfall will be all around the driest areas.  A few thunderstorms will sneak into the drought plagued region as well, so let’s see how each set up evolves.

This next map shows the zoomed in rainfall forecast from the same European Model:

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 7.08.41 AM

This forecast map shows spotty totals, fairly low 10-day rainfall totals over northeastern KS and northwestern MO, while at the same time there are higher totals just to the north and off to the east.

The SPC outlook for Tuesday:


There is some potential for a few severe thunderstorms in this marginal risk area.  Given the time of the year, we will be monitoring this closely. The models have varied from having these thunderstorms form just west of KC, to having them form just east of KC.  Let’s see how this sets up tomorrow. Then next weekend is interesting, but the storm system is just not organizing properly; I mean it just isn’t looking that likely for KC to be in the right spot for thunderstorms despite a slow moving front in the area. We will analyze these set ups in the next few blogs, and on 41 Action News.

Kansas City Weather Timeline:

  • Today: A rather calm and beautiful day. Expect a mostly sunny sky with light winds.  High:  81°
  • Tonight:  Mostly clear with a low in the upper 50s to near 60°
  • Tuesday:  Periods of clouds with a 30% chance of thunderstorms.  Thunderstorms will develop, but will they form north and east of KC, and thus miss us, or will they form overhead or just west. This is our big forecast challenge for tomorrow.  Expect southeast winds 10-20 mph. High:  81°
  • Wednesday:  A gorgeous spring day with west winds at 10 -20 mph. Mostly sunny with a high of 86°

Have a great day. Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Go over to the Weather2020 blog to join in the conversation.


Increasing Thunderstorm Chances

Good Sunday bloggers,

We had a few showers overnight and now we are in for another nice and warm May day with highs in the 80s. We are in for a marvelous Monday with highs in the 70s. Then the pattern become more active as there will be chances of thunderstorms in the Plains practically every day Tuesday through next weekend. Let’s go through the week.

SUNDAY: It will be a warm day with highs in the 80s along with areas of clouds. A brief afternoon shower is not out of the question. A weak cold front will drift south this afternoon and we will feel the affects tonight and Monday. Lows tonight will drop to 50°-55°, making for a comfortable start to Monday.


MONDAY: This will be a very nice day with sunshine, low humidity and a light breeze from the east. Highs will be 75°-80°.


TUESDAY-NEXT WEEKEND: The pattern becomes more active as a series of disturbances and fronts track east out of the Rockies. The severe threat is lower this week than last week, but it is not zero and we will have to keep a close eye on each day’s set up. The first chance of thunderstorms arrives later Tuesday and Tuesday night, especially from the state line and points to the east.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT-THURSDAY: A front may linger and new thunderstorms will be possible where this front sets up. Right now it looks like southeast Kansas and south Missouri.


THURSDAY-FRIDAY: Thursday looks calm. Then, Thursday night-Friday a new disturbance will bring thunderstorms to Nebraska. This cluster may stay north along I-80, but we will have to watch for a southeast turn.


NEXT WEEKEND: A bigger storm system is looking more likely and this is where our severe weather chances will increase along with the chance of heavier rain.


RAINFALL FORECAST: This active pattern is coming in the nick of time. A drought extends from southern Iowa to the southwest Plains. If the pattern stays dry, then the drought will expand faster during the warm season as evaporation rates increase. If we see many rounds of thunderstorms, the drought disappears.


Right now it looks like most of the region will see at least .50″ to 2.00″ of rain with some locations seeing up to 4.00″ of rain. The locations of the heavier rainfall totals is not set in stone as it depends on where the heavier part of the upcoming thunderstorm clusters track. Notice that there is not much rain for Oklahoma into Texas. So, perhaps we can lop off the northern part of the drought.


Have a great week ahead.

Jeff Penner