Weather Forecast Thoughts On Thunderstorm Chances

Good morning bloggers,

Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • Now through 9 PM: Dry with a 0% chance of any thunderstorms. High: 84°
  • 9 PM to midnight: Thunderstorms developing west will be monitored closely as they go through various transitions in organization. The chance of a thunderstorm increases to 50% by midnight.
  • Midnight to 6 AM: The cold front moves through with the wind shifting to the northwest. There is a 70% chance of a few thunderstorms. The severe weather risk is low.


There are two storm systems we are monitoring today. The SPC has placed a slight and an enhanced slight risk out over the plains into the upper midwest today. The second one is due in Friday into the weekend.

Today’s Set-Up:


There is enough of a cap today, a warm layer aloft around 3,000 to 10,000 feet above us, to prevent thunderstorms from forming along the weaker surface boundaries. Now, remember, there will not be thunderstorms that will just come out of no where. Something must trigger their development. The surface boundaries I have plotted are the areas to monitor closely. The main surface boundaries are way out west in that trough west of Salina at 6 PM, the cold front, and the warm front. That other little surface trough will likely fade into the first one by 8 PM. Thunderstorms will most likely form by 8 PM out of the Kansas City viewing area out west as you can see below.


Now, the weather always has a few tricks to monitor. So, let’s watch this closely later today. The most likely severe weather risk area is where the SPC put the enhanced slight risk in Iowa. The models have all trended into this solution with the ignition of thunderstorms happening late. By 2 to 4 AM they finally get to Kansas City as you can see below.


The weekend storm system:

The weekend storm is directly related to a storm that affected the United States Christmas week. In that LRC Cycle 2 version it did move northeast into the northern plains, but it fell apart and another wave took over and dropped southeast. This storm is going through a similar transition as it moves into the plains and it is making the rainfall forecast very difficult for Friday into Saturday. The models continue to be very inconsistent. On this latest GFS model above, I plotted where the storm tracked into the west coast and then turns southeast and, very important here, becomes positively tilted. When a storm tilts from northeast to southwest, that is a positive tilt. When it tilts from northwest to southeast, then it is a negatively tilted storm and most often more energetic. As this storm comes into the west in the next couple of days it will be negatively tilted and a strong reason why California had a very wet year, due to the cycling pattern as described by the LRC. It is forecast to become positively tilted in response of it going through the LRC ridge that is part of this overall pattern we are in across the Northern Hemisphere.

Let’s look deeper into the weekend system tomorrow. Have a great day and thank you for participating in this weather experience.


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