Spring-like storm approaches & spring forecast

 The 12th annual Kansas City Pet Telethon is on 38 the Spot Sunday night: Kansas City Pet Telethon

Good morning bloggers,

Here is our spring forecast from the 10 PM newscast on 41 Action News:

The severe weather calendars are posted below.  Today, we have a spring-like storm that will also have a major winter component to it well to the north of Kansas City.  The energy in today’s upper level storm will mostly track north of Kansas City, and this will limit the threat of wide spread and any organization to rain and thunderstorm development.  A few small bands of showers will likely get generated with the best chance of any thunderstorms arriving as the cold front approaches tonight:

Ths storm system, that is moving out into the plains today, has a lot of the features you would look for in a significant severe weather set-up. Today, however, we just don’t have any heating and the dew points are still somewhat low. The dew points may surge to near 60 degrees by sometime this evening which will force the high temperature up to near 60 after dark tonight. The daylight hours are still a bit short and there isn’t enough time for any heating of the lower atmosphere near the surface. And, there is a thick overcast that has developed.  The chance of rain and possible thunderstorms will arrive much later in the day. Take a look at this next forecast map valid this evening at 7:40 PM:

We will be firmly in the warm sector of the storm before midnight and it should be quite mild and windy through around midnight. The dry line will fall apart and the cold front will be on our doorstep by just after midnight:

Thunderstorms are possible this evening as the energy of the system mostly lifts north of our area aloft.  The dry line will fall apart and the cold front will take over later this evening and this is when I am expecting a line of thunderstorms to develop.  We will be tracking these development on 41 Action News.  By Wednesday morning we will have a windy, but sunny change as the storm closes off due north of us.

We are forecasting this weather pattern to continue to cycle according to the LRC as we move through the spring months. What will this same weather pattern that may have brought us the lowest snow total ever recorded in a Kansas City snow season?  We projected out this pattern, assuming a roughly 45 to 50 day cycle and produced these severe weather calendars.  In April the flow aloft is much stronger than it is in May and June. Storm systems tend to move much faster. In each of the red areas there may be just one or two chances of severe weather. After further analysis yesterday I believe the first part of April will actually be quite calm, with the more active period likely near the middle of the month:

I am expecting an active May. There is some concern that the jet stream in that mysterious middle stream will take over and the heights will rise significantly in May. There is, however, a mean long term long-wave trough, that has helped produce our wet winter, located over the southern Rocky Mountain states. When energy drops into this trough in May it will likely result in very wet weather. I am expecting a wet month of May with a few good severe weather set-ups.  Here is the May calendar:

Here is the June Calendar:


Have a great day. We will update the blog as the storm gets a bit closer this evening.

I am still writing and will finish this blog around 8:15 AM…


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57 comments to Spring-like storm approaches & spring forecast

  • I hope that 78 gets out of the 7 day!!!! Need Snow!!!!!!!! :O

  • Theo

    You and Penner essentially take credit for predicting the Joplin tornado? That’s some real BS, Gary. Did you predict the Tuscaloosa tornado too? You pick an 11 day stretch in the spring and you actually think that a tornado won’t happen?

  • Weatherfreak01

    Anyone else having issues pulling up NWS?

  • calikufan

    By the look of your calendar it seems to be like an extremely spring.

    Theo…they predicted the setup not the tornado. You’re confused if you think they thought they predicted a tornado

    • Weatherman Kumke

      Look. I’m not a hater at all of the Lezak camp. However, To flat out state that you predicted the Joplin Tornado because you predicted a severe weather setup for May 22nd-29th Is complete and Utter Crap! First of all. You said ti would be an active set up for the Kansas city area. Not for Joplin. 2nd of all. F5s are not common at all. To go out and state that the LRC predicted the Joplin Tornado is flat out wrong and outrageous. And trying to move the yardstick to serve your purpose of selling it to the Kansas City Community is just laughable.

      • Zach,

        We didn’t say that we predicted the Joplin tornado! We picked out the stormy period that included that severe weather set-up.


        • Weatherman Kumke

          “The Direct Quote”

          “”last year we picked out May 22nd-June 1st was a active set up, and sure enough Joplin got hit with a tornado on May 22nd”

          • bobloblaw

            I think it’s pretty obvious that they meant that they predicted severe weather, and “sure enough” that was also when that horrible tornado popped up.

            • Weatherman Kumke

              Guess what also happened, The cold core Tornadoes that Touched down in Overland park in the same time frame. Why not use that as the Severe weather since it’s local,and not something that happened in the Springfield Missouri forecasting area.

              • bobloblaw

                Because they track and discuss more than just local storm, and when talking about weather patterns it makes more sense to include events that people recognize. No one remembers the weather pattern that caused storms in Overland Park.

                Just seems more and more lately that people just try to find things to complain about. This is a great place to learn new things and have fun tracking.. if you get rage from something like this I think it’s time to take a deep breath and go on a long walk.

  • Weatherman Kumke

    “Last year we picked out May 22 to June 1 and sure enough, May 22 was that awful tornado in Joplin,” said Penner. “You can pick out and look at previous cycles and then project out how this looks like it will happen in May. The advantage we have going out into this spring is we’ve seen three cycles going. Going into winter we haven’t seen enough cycles so we get smarter as each month goes along and more accurate with time.”


  • OlatheMatt

    Didnt you have some huge ice storm prediction that was a major bust?


    I read another stations blog as well as this one everyday. What makes this blog far superior is viewer interaction. Gary, his team, the station ALLOW us to respond, ask questions etc. For those of you that get on here and lash out on the weatherteam, do us a favor start following the other stations in Kc blogs. They don’t get to ask questions , or respond. The meteorologist simply types up a blog, posts it, walks away. Gary and Brett jeff and George, do WAY more than that! So please if you don’t like it here leave before they take our privileges away!

  • golathe

    SPC just put KC AREA IN SLIGHT RISK OF SEVERE WEATHER!!!http://www.spc.noaa.gov/

    • Nothing has changed. There is a chance of thunderstorms this evening. The risk is extremely slight. There may be some marginal hail and a severe thunderstorm warning or two, but I don’t expect more than this. Thunderstorms are most likely when the cold front approaches later this evening.

  • mowermike

    Winter forecast had some good and some bad. The forecast called for the drought to ease here in Kc and down to the the SW into Texas. The winter forecast called for above average precip. for the winter and an active storm track. No where did it say we would have a cold winter.(it didn’t say we would have a really warm one either) It did predict average temps and that was certainly wrong. The snow, well nobody in this world predicted less then 4 inches. However, the forecast did state that rainfall would cut into snowfall totals. This wasn’t even close the last few years as we had very little rain.

    The forecast wasn’t a total bust, some right and some wrong. That’s going to happen when predicting long range. Some people think that just because it didn’t happen in their backyard the forecast was completely wrong.

    Nice job on the Spring forecast weather team, we’ll see how things work out.

    8 straight conference wins for the Jayhawks, WOW!!! They did it again in a year of great competition and less talent on the team. One Name………Bill Self!! Now that’s a coach.

  • spaceotter

    Winter’s not over. There’s still the outside chance something could happen.

  • Dan

    What about severe weather setup(s) in March? With a 78 Monday and not much of a winter, could we see some active severe weather in March and if so what would be the most likely days?

  • Jerry


    The way you selectively choose which elements of the winter forecast to highlight in your “accuracy check” is pretty disappointing. Not to mention, how you twist the wording to make them sound more accurate than they were.

    For instance, you mention you “didn’t forecast a cold winter” and so you give yourself a green checkmark for that as being accurate. However, your winter forecast was for “average temperatures”. If one uses the standard long-range forecast percentiles of thirds: that is, there’s a 1/3 chance of below average, average, or above average temps or precip, then your forecast of “average temps” was not accurate, as we have been WELL above average this winter. To call it accurate that you “didn’t forecast a cold winter” is to give yourself a 66% chance of success every time since 2/3 of the time, the temps will either be average or above average. You called for average temps. They’ve been above average – that’s a bust on the temp side.

    As for precip, you nearly brush-off the cornerstone of your winter forecast: the 21″ of snow. To say nothing of your prediction that the first inch would fall in early December. Instead, we got less than 15% of your forecasted total…and your first inch came two months late.

    By the same standard you “verify” your winter forecast, I can guarantee your spring forecast will verify beautifully as well. For instance, above you mention “I am expecting an active May. There is some concern that the jet stream in that mysterious middle stream will take over and the heights will rise significantly in May.” Right there, you give both scenarios – either an active may, or one in which heights rise and the atmosphere is stagnant with less severe weather. When it comes time to “accuracy check” your spring forecast, I’m sure you’ll pluck whichever of those two statements was more accurate in hindsight: if it is an active may, you’ll say “We nailed it!” and if it isn’t, you’ll say “We noted our concern that heights would rise and we’d have less activity in May” to claim success.

    It’s a dishonest way to put out “verify” so-called long-range forecast.

    If you wanted to verify the accuracy, you’d at least post a map comparison of your nationwide maps showing where you expected below/average/above temps and precip and then show the observed temps and precip… and the contrast would be striking. For instance, the remarkably warm winter for the upper plains and midwest (For just one instance, Minneapolis is something like 8 degrees above normal for the winter and has recieved less than half of their annual snowfall! Remarkable numbers, yet you had them pegged for above average precip and below average temperatures. And that’s just one other city…there are many others).

    Last winter you called for snowfall in KC of 18″ and we got twice that. This year you forecast 21″ and we got less than 1/5 of that. These long range forecasts aren’t working.

    When one accepts that you do this to maintain some sort of competitive edge because this is media and not science, it becomes more clear why you keep putting out these forecasts and ‘verifying’ them this way, but I have to say it is pretty disappointing. It’d be incredibly refreshing to get an on-air met to be honest with both their limitations and forecasts rather than sensationalistic and disingenuous as a means of trying to capture a competitive edge.

    • Jerry,

      You have your opinion and I have mine. And, the forecast date that I chose for the first inch just about happened. If you remember the first snow actually came one day after my date, I practically hit that forecast. But, it fell short of an inch, just like this winter fell short. I clearly show that our 21 inch forecast failed.

      The forecasts that we have made have had some success and some failure. We are learning more each year. Anyway, I feel the winter forecast was not as horrible as you have stated here, but again that’s how I feel about it.

      We just had a winter that was baffling and I don’t back away from that at all. The lack of blocking lead directly to the lack of snow and cold. I didn’t expect that, no one did. But, there were some accurate parts of the winter forecast and predicting a wet winter, and rainfall amounts will cut into snowfall totals was a very good forecast.

      Jerry says: ” It’d be incredibly refreshing to get an on-air met to be honest with both their limitations and forecasts rather than sensationalistic and disingenuous as a means of trying to capture a competitive edge.”

      I strive to do this every day Jerry. I am sorry that you feel this way. I will work on this.


      • And, Jerry, if it is drier than average in May and it isn’t an active severe weather month, then I will be wrong. I do have some concerns about that middle stream and a possible retreat northward of the jet stream in this strange weather year, but I don’t really expect that. I won’t be going back and using that statement to verify any forecast.


  • mowermike

    Jerry posted:

    “These long range forecasts aren’t working”

    You didn’t mention the fact that the forecast called for the drought to ease in Kc and for it to be a wet period as we move through late fall into Winter.

    You didn’t mention the fact that the forecast called for many active periods through the winter.

    You didn’t mention the fact that the forecast called for the rainfall to cut into the snowfall predictions.(this is exactly what happen, way more then anticipated though)

    What about the drought relief predicted for Oklahoma and Texas.

    So, there were predictions that came true and as you stated several that did fail. I see what you’re saying and certainly agree with some of it. Many open statements that can be twisted to be right. I don’t agree with your statement that these long range forecasts aren’t working. Do you think that he guessed on the storm track and the drought relief in Texas and Oklahoma, the rainfall cutting into the snowfall totals, and the overall precip. to be above normal?

    Now, I know many areas of the forecast were off and I don’t need to repeat them as they will appear often today. But, do you agree that the forecast did hit some rather tough predictions?

    I don’t think that the winter forecast was a total bust nor do I think it was great. It obviously had some bad predictions, but it had some really good ones too.

    • Mike,

      I could easily take the other side and concentrate on the negative parts of the winter forecast. It is always open for discussion. I always try to look at the positive’s, but also use the negative’s and failures to improve in life and in forecasting the weather.


    • R-Dub

      You completely missed the point of Jerry’s post Mike. He was talking specifically about the way Gary “verified” his winter forecast on air. So just stating (again) that some parts of the forecast were correct is irrelevant.

      I think his point about the temperature forecast is 100% correct. Gary missed the temperature forecast for the winter, yet gave himself a green check as if he had hit it.

      No one expects Gary to get 100% of the forecasts right–that’s why it’s called a “forecast.” But it is frustrating when he claims to have gotten a forecast right when he clearly didn’t.

      • mowermike


        “So, there were predictions that came true and as you stated several that did fail. I see what you’re saying and certainly agree with some of it. Many open statements that can be twisted to be right.”

        I thought maybe this would clear up that I did agree with what he was saying. I do understand his post and I’m stating that he does focus on the negatives and I’m one that focuses on the positives.

        Yes, it’s clear that the forecast for temps was wrong and way wrong. And yes, you can argue that Gary tried to twist it up and claim that he hit the forecast temps right with claiming that he didn’t predict a cold winter on air. I don’t feel that way, it was a simple point on air and the flip side is that it was way warmer and he didn’t put that on air with a big red X in the box. I’m sure he could have done many more line items per the forecast and a red x would have been placed right next to it.

        “But it is frustrating when he claims to have gotten a forecast right when he clearly didn’t”

        I agree 100% with that thought, but what did he claim on air last night that wasn’t right. He showed a statement that the forecast didn’t call for a cold winter and then placed a check. That’s correct right? I don’t believe this statement means he got the avg. temp forecast right. He just didn’t state that. I think he should of but like he said, he tried to focus on the positives of the forecast.

        It’s a fact that parts of the winter forecast were wrong, but I can’t find anything from last night that he claimed was right and in reality it wasn’t. (my opinion, maybe I really am missing your point)

        • R-Dub

          “He showed a statement that the forecast didn’t call for a cold winter and then placed a check. That’s correct right? ”

          And that’s the point. He set the criterion so he could give himself a green check. The only reason to phrase the temperature forecast as a negative was to make it possible to be right.

          A more honest criterion would have been “Predicted average temperatures,” which would have been a red X. Instead he set the bar incredibly low so he could put a check there. Not an outright false statment, but a case of being intentionally misleading.

          • R-dub,

            I didn’t even mention an Arctic outbreak in my winter forecast. I was seriously concerned that we may not have one. Anyway, I am just being honest. I could take the negative angle, but this isn’t how I go about my forecasting or my life. I took the positive spin on things. We didn’t expect a cold winter is my point. But, the temperature anomaly forecast was wrong.

            • R-Dub

              Then you say “We didn’t expect a cold winter, and we didn’t get one. But we thought it would be closer to average than it was, so we were wrong on this part too.”

              Doesn’t mean you have to be negative about everything, just honest.

            • Jerry

              It isn’t about being “negative” about your life, it is about being honest rather than evasive and manipulative.

              One doesn’t have to live a negative life simply because they are willing to be realistic and honest.

              I’d argue your emphasis on sugar-coating a poor forecast and your refusal to acknoledge the negatives is actually less “positive” of a lifestyle because you’re failing to be honest with your viewers (and more importantly, yourself).

              • Jerry,

                Again, this isn’t my intention. Do you seriously think that I thought out a way to get away with showing that the winter forecast was at all accurate. I absolutely didn’t have that thought at all. I pointed out the 21 inch snowfall forecast as wrong. I pointed out the ice storm forecast as wrong. I seriously believe there were a few important aspects of the winter forecast that came through and I stressed those points. I had no intention to sugar-coat anything.

                I am being honest with the viewers. I understand where you are coming from. Maybe in June we can work together and come up with what you would consider an honest evaluation of our spring forecast.


                • Micah

                  Sometimes you put together a poll and ask readers what they think. Come June, perhaps you could list the items of your spring forecast and let us rate how we feel. Perhaps it would be something like a scale of Strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree. Or, even simpler, each item could just be a “yes, nailed it” or “No, blew it” rating. I think it would be interesting.

                  Regardless, thanks for all the time and attention you give to the blog.

          • mowermike


            Very good explanation. I now see what you mean.

            • A band of showers and thunderstorms is moving in from the south. After this band moves through the next band of heavier thunderstorms will most likely come after sunset as the cold front approaches.

  • sedsinkc

    Well Gary, your spring forecast closely parallels the one I made last week, albeit your is much more specific on rainfall and severe weather outbreaks. Hope you hit the bullseye this time.

    For the critics, all I can say is do better than Gary on a consistent basis and then you’ll be more than just a bomb thrower. Gary did miss on his temperature and snow and ice storm forecasts. But he also hit on above average precip and rain cutting into snow totals. Many of the “misses” in the winter forecast can be attributed to the unusual almost complete lack of blocking in our part of the Northern Hemisphere this winter, which is determined by the AO and the NAO. These features operate independently of the LRC, but they have a major bearing on the sensible weather we get each winter. I’ve posted on here before about the fallibility of the LRC due to the unpredictable whims of the AO and NAO. This will be a problem until some way is devised to accurately forecast changes in the AO and NAO far in advance. The LRC may be more reliable in the spring as the effects of the AO and NAO diminish. We’ll see. There are always uncertainties but I commend Gary for doing his best even though he’s not always 100% accurate. No one would be. Contrast Gary’s winter predictions with one of his competitors’ mets. Their predictions were worse than Gary’s.

    • mowermike


      “Contrast Gary’s winter predictions with one of his competitors’ mets. Their predictions were worse than Gary’s.”

      Great thought. Very true, plus, Gary and team are much more detailed with their long range forecasts. So, it will be likely to find some wrong predictions in every seasonal forecast.

  • sedsinkc

    Gary, last Friday I posted the following in response to your blog entry that basically gave us zero chance of severe storms today due to limited moisture and surface heating:

    “As for next week’s storm threat, just saw a nice GFS forecast dewpoint map valid next Tues at noon showing 55 degree dewpoints knocking on the S side of KC and 50 deg dewpoints to SE Nebraska and SW Iowa. If we get sufficient surface warming and sufficiently strong upper air dynamics, that should be sufficient to set off at least a few potentially severe thunderstorms near our local area Tues. afternoon or evening, most likely just S or SE of us though.”

    Looks like the dewpoints could actually exceed what was forecast by the GFS last Friday. Surface heating will probably be the primary missing factor for us, but perhaps farther southwest it will be warmer which will fuel storm initiation and intensification. The storms will likely weaken some as they reach KC though. Given the upper air parameters and strong winds aloft, there’s a decent chance of some small hail and 40-50 mph wind gusts around KC metro with these storms, and possibly a few isolated 60 mph gusts in the strongest cells.

  • Bananny

    Why don’t we come up with a Spring Accuracy Checklist now? This way there isn’t any doubt in the bloggers minds as to what is acceptable as accurate and not.

  • Bananny

    You would have to come up with specific measures. The amount of rainfall would be easy to verify. The days marked by the weather team on the calendars would have to have a severe outbreak (“severe” would be the definition put forth by the National Weather Service) then we could average the rate of accuracy. The temps would have to be recorded and compared to the average. Remember though the viewing area is quite large so any weather outbreak in the area would count.

    On the Maple Woods Campus in the Northland it is cloudy now.

  • Here is an idea: how about a contest for the most accurate spring forecast submitted by a blogger. Base it up the number of major storms, precipitation total, and average temperature. In addition, there could be a survey done of the bloggers to determine the Weather Teams spring forecast accuracy based upon some very specific criteria. So there would need to be a range determined in advance to define what exactly “accurate” means. So for example, if the weather team is going to predict “above average” temperatures, actual average daily temp would need to exceed historical average daily temps by 2 degrees for at least 4 days out of every week.

  • kcbuckeye

    Gary, can you repost the March calendar??? would especially like your thoughts on week of 3/12 for our staycation spring break!

  • jjoel

    Harsh crowd today. I don’t think anyone expected us to break the record of lowest snow total in KC this winter. Based on Gary’s winter forecast, I figured that winter would be much less harsh than previous winters, but I also expected to miss a day of work due to an ice-storm. I wish I got to miss a day of work, but I don’t think anyone really wants an ice-storm.

    Do any other stations in KC have a forecast over the next three months?

    I do think it would be a good idea to have a poll on the blog to predict the total number of snowfall for a winter or spring rainfall or something like that.

  • frog426

    How about EVERYBODY gets off Gary’s back and remember that he and the rest of 41 weather IS the most accurate on a daily basis?

    Quit turning tragedy and the potential for more this year into a he said this and he said that contest?

    Free speech was earned with blood, but this is getting ridiculous.

  • Hillsdale_Bruce

    I have a forecast of my own from watching the weather blog over the past couple years. There are always stormy comments and my respect for Gary in how he handles them grows each season. If I want to see the margin of error I tune into the other forecasters. I have observed that when he is wrong he is happy to say it. In one area he needs work is responding to as many negative and baseless comments as he does. Consider yourselves lucky for the extra entertainment! Go Gary! and the rest of the Weather Team.

  • bobloblaw

    If you guys would stop bickering, you’d be able to enjoy the nice cracks of thunder outside :) Hooray for spring.

  • sedsinkc

    SW winds gusting 50 to 65 mph in the Texas Panhandle starting to pick up dust. The line of cumulus that will develop into storms later isn’t too far east of the increasing dust. Our rain tonight might be dirtier than usual.

  • R-Dub

    Nice little downpours we got in OP…haven’t heard any thunder though.

  • calikufan

    Hey Gary…so what’s the deal? Nws says mesovortices in our viewing area…

  • The other station say they anticipate some kind of Severe Wx Watch for us tonight.