Severe storm threat on Friday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It’s a stormy morning for parts of the metro. Some areas of Kansas City have had some heavy rain, and as I started this blog, there may be some small hailstones mixing in as well on the Missouri side.

The storms this morning will linger, but move out over the next couple of hours as the atmosphere is stabilized and worked over and a cap starts to build into the area.

This cap should help us out this afternoon with drier weather and somewhat warmer temperatures, how warm we get today is a bit questionable, and dependent on breaking out into the sunshine. We may get stuck in the 60s this afternoon if the clouds hang around.

We’ll then be watching the storms unfold in central and eastern Kansas. Those storms will likely become severe this evening as they develop toward Manhattan, Kansas, and spread east-northeast while the whole line moves eastward. So after 10 pm tonight.

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Kansas City forecast:

Today: Storms this morning ending by lunch or so, with drier conditions expected this afternoon. Seasonably mild with highs approaching 70 degrees. Breezy as well this afternoon.

Tonight: Storms likely after 10 pm Some severe weather is possible, mainly stronger at this point. Locally heavy rains possible as well.

Tomorrow: Mostly sunny, windy and seasonable with highs well into the 60s.

Sunday: Pleasant with highs in the lower 70s.

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Discussion:

A stormy start to the day in the area, with several heavy downpours out there as expected and even some hail in localized areas.

This should move through the region and we should dry out towards lunch or so.

The next question is you clear out the day goes along? This morning there is an outflow boundary moving through the region with winds above the boundary helping to generate a lot of clouds.

Mesoscale Convective Complex is really, the first of many coming over the coming months.

As a result, the surface wind fields are sort of chaotic right now and east of the state line.

Once you get farther west, you can see the air drawn into a surface storm towards western Kansas. That will intensify as the day moves along the Kansas-Nebraska border.
Current surface map. The black lines are isobars or lines of equal air pressure

As the storm moves eastwards into a more favorable and unstable atmosphere, that will be capped for a good part of the day. Eventually, the weakening cap will break. This means storms should pop this evening.

The storms are likely going to be severe towards the west of the region including the potential of some rather large hail, damaging winds, and perhaps some tornadic activity. The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted the area near the surface with a moderate risk. This would be risk level 4 out of 5 for areas in southern Nebraska.

A map from the Storm Prediction Center shows the Kansas City area in the enhanced risk area for severe weather, which is a level 3 out of 5.

The highest tornadic risk remains west of the region.

The risk should drop off as the storms travel east. Areas toward northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas may be somewhat vulnerable because of the storms likely to be closer to the origin, as opposed to the time they get to the state line region, where they are likely to be in a squall line. Still though, there are some parameters that favor those little spin ups, and with darkness, it will be tougher to see anything.

The bottom line is not surprised by a Tornado Warning anywhere in the viewing area tonight.

The morning run of the HRRR model has this idea for the nighttime storms moving into the region:

For timing: 0Z is 7 pm (the start of the loop), 3Z is 10 pm and 6Z is 1 am Saturday. This is a roughly seven-hour loop of forecasted radar.

There are still some parameters that suggest we could see those small mesovortices along the leading edge of the squall line when it moves through the overnight. Those are truly needle-in-a-haystack type things. Perhaps there is a better chance toward northern Missouri, but the area will be monitored just in case.

Again, the timing of the second round of heavier storms is better after tonight’s sunset.

There are several things though that include the activity that happens tonight, and just when the cap will break out west. If the storms are even delayed coming to the state line, that would reduce the severe weather risk even more for us at least.

A lot of chasers will be swarming toward the Kansas-Nebraska border area later today and hanging out. I’m not sure if they are going to see much of anything until dark, or at least until the sun is setting.

If the storms are once again pushing out a gust front, which is sort of like a mini-cold front of rain-cooled air that forms and pushes out the squall line, this will effectively cut the tornadic risk to zero.

The smaller hail risk might remain and the storms can still push out some stronger winds too. If the gust front gets far ahead of the squall line, then the storms start ingesting the rain-cooled air as they move east. In essence, they are moving into a cooler air and sucking in more stable air. This is very much on the table as well.

My general feeling is that northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas will likely be higher risk of stronger southwest, with a decreasing risk farther south toward Kansas City and southwards.

We’ll see … These things always throw a few surprises at us. Let’s see what they look like when they actually come together.

The weekend looks good. Next chance of rain is Monday, and depending on the setup, there could be some instability if we can build some instability, which is questionable right now.

The feature photo is from Breanna Elaine Decker down in LaCygne, Kansas, of some quarter-sized hail from a storm this morning.

Joe

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