Brett’s Blog (Tuesday Rain Update)

August 14, 2018 - Leave a Response

Light rain moved into the Kansas City metro this morning.  So far the amounts have been on the lighter side.  This is pretty typical with this type of upper level low where the eastern side of the storm usually has weak lift and produces a steady period of light rain.  So far this storm is right on track.  Here is a look at a Live Power Doppler Image from around 9 a.m.

KCTV 2018.png

As the low spins toward Kansas City, we will likely experience a dry slot of air that will move overhead during the middle of the day.  Look for the temperature to warm into the upper 70s, especially if the sun comes out which is possible at this point.  But now look at the graphic below and notice the orange areas dotted around the area on Forecast Track.

Surface 1.png

What’s going on here?!  By 3 PM, the center of the upper low will be moving just south of Kansas City.  In this region you’ll find colder air aloft sitting over top warmer air at the surface. This set up generates energy and creates rising air. Rising air equals clouds, add copious moisture and you get thunderstorms.  That’s exactly what we expect to happen from late afternoon into the evening.

Surface 2.png

The severe threat is low with these thunderstorms but don’t be surprised, if one passes over your house, that you experience gusty winds and maybe small hail.  These thunderstorms will also be capable of putting down a lot of water in a short period of time.  Our short range model still insists some areas will end up with more than an inch of rain once these thunderstorms pass through the region.

HRRR Rainfall Forecast.png

Unfortunately, if you don’t get under one of these thunderstorms, then you’re rainfall totals for this storm will likely end up at a half inch or less.  There is another wave of energy forecast to arrive Thursday into Friday.  There is another chance of rain late Sunday.  So, all in all an active period. Now if we could just get the rain to fall in the right places.


Brett’s Blog (Widespread rain headed our way)

August 13, 2018 - Leave a Response

Rain is on the way!  Here is a snapshot of radar & satellite earlier this afternoon.  An upper level low pressure in eastern Colorado will slowly and I mean slowly spin toward Kansas City between Monday night and Wednesday evening.  Look at the amount of moisture the storm is pulling up from the Gulf of Mexico across Texas and Oklahoma. This picture gives us hope that we are in store for a soaking rain.

US Satellite Radar_Blog.png

Remember that winds flow counter-clockwise around a low pressure area.  So as this storm spins toward Kansas City, rain and thunderstorms will first approach from the south and southwest. This will be the case Monday evening. It also means most of the rain will stay just southwest of KC until Tuesday morning.  The heaviest rain will fall near the warm front that forms over southern Kansas and southwest Missouri.

Surface 6.png

Overnight into Tuesday morning, rain and thunderstorms will spread north into Kansas City. These storms will include brief downpours with lightning and thunder.  Early Tuesday the thunderstorms may be more scattered in nature.

Surface 7

But as the low pressure system gets closer to Kansas City, steadier and longer lasting periods of rain and thunderstorms will develop and hang over the KC metro for a number of hours on Tuesday.

Surface 8

As the low pressure area passes Kansas City Tuesday evening it will begin to weaken.  But we won’t be done with the rain. Ample moisture will be available. That moisture will interact with a cold front dropping out of Iowa and we will be in store for more rain on Wednesday.

Surface 9.png

This round of rain could last off and on into Wednesday night before tapering off as slightly drier air filters into the area from the north.  When it’s all said and done many areas could pick up a good soaking rainfall.  Here is a sampling of possible rainfall amounts across the area. Again, these numbers are not set in stone as the rainfall amounts we end up with will likely be higher or lower than what these graphics show.  So why show them? Because it gives you an idea of the rainfall potential from this storm.

Midwest Forecast Track Rain Accumulation

What about severe weather?  The overall threat is low but remember this time of year thunderstorms occasionally collapse, creating strong, if not, damaging winds.  Again the potential is low.  Lightning will be the biggest threat we face with a small chance for some flash flooding.

Severe Risk Index

This slow meandering storm has a lot of moisture to work with so there will be potential for some street and small creek flooding with any thunderstorm that pours over an area. and where there is lightning, power can be knocked out.  But overall the threat is low.

Bottom-line, the severe threat is limited. The rainfall should be widespread. In other words, rain is on the way!


Brett’s Blog (Much Needed Rain)

August 12, 2018 - Leave a Response

It seems we’ve been talking about it for days.  A large, slow-moving, meandering storm took shape along the Red River in Texas and Oklahoma Sunday night. This “L” on the map below is the storm we are tracking.

US Satellite Radar_Blog.png


This area of low pressure will slowly move its way north on Monday.  By Tuesday morning, the storm will hook up with a surface low pressure area. This should lead to the first widespread, long-lasting, soaking of rain in months.  The rain, at first, will likely be off and on and spotty Tuesday morning but pick up in intensity and coverage Tuesday afternoon.  Here is what the surface weather map should look like Tuesday morning.

Surface 6.png

Tuesday afternoon, the warm front associated with the low pressure area will lift into the Kansas City area.  Our chance of rain will increase to 90-percent and we should have embedded thunderstorms with some downpours possible when the warm front moves through the area. This is when I expect to see a steady rain for a few hours Tuesday late afternoon and evening.

Surface 6-2.png

There may be a few rain showers Wednesday morning when the “cold front” in Iowa (on the map above) drops into Missouri and Kansas. Behind this cold front, another upper level disturbance will likely produce several hours of light rain or drizzle through Wednesday evening.

Surface 6-3.png

All in all it should be a very beneficial rain for most of us.  Below I will show you a forecast rainfall map. Remember these numbers are not set in stone and exact amounts will likely change or shift once it starts raining.  But this gives us some guidance or an idea of the range in rainfall measurements we will experience with this upcoming rain event.

Midwest Forecast Track Rain Accumulation

That would do a lot to ease drought conditions in the area. And remember this is forecast rain through Wednesday evening.  Another storm system moves into the northern plains Friday that could produce another round of steady, light to moderate rain.  If this week comes together as computer models suggest then we will talk about this mid-August rain for days!


Brett’s Blog (Showers Tonight, Meteor Showers)

August 11, 2018 - Leave a Response

Showers are in the forecast tonight!  Meteor showers! The annual Perseid meteor showers peak Saturday and Sunday night.  For best viewing look toward the north, northeast sky after midnight.  Most of the meteors should originate between the constellations of Cassiopeia and Perseus

Meteor Shower Template

This year 60 to 70 meteors an hour will be visible, especially late tonight and Sunday night after the crescent moon has set.  I am a little concerned about a hazy screen of smoke particulates high in the atmosphere blurring the visibility. Otherwise skies will be clear.  While Saturday night will be a great night for viewing the Perseids, many astronomy experts say Sunday night may offer a better show.  Either way, showers are in the forecast but you won’t need an umbrella, just a patience and great view of the sky.

Brett’s Blog (Colorful Sunsets)

August 10, 2018 - Leave a Response

Red Skies at night!  We’ve had a lot of them lately! For instance, Friday evening over KCI.

CityCam Video 2

Look at all the pinks, reds and oranges in this sunset.  What’s causing such colorful sunsets?  The simple answer, the smoke from the wildfires out west.  How can that be? Can the smoke from hundreds of miles of away be impacting us here in KC?  Yes!  But the smoke particles are so high up in the atmosphere and so diluted when they get to KC that we can’t smell it and it’s not having an impact on our air quality.  But it is providing a lot of colorful sunsets.  Check out this photo, also from Friday evening as the sun sets over the Legends and Village West in Wyandotte County.

CityCam Video 3

Typically we see a lot more color at sunrise or sunset because the sun’s rays are passing through more atmosphere than at any other time of the day.  For instance when the sun is 4-degrees above the horizon, sunlight has to pass through 12 times more atmosphere than when the sun is right overhead.  Most of the shorter wavelengths are scattered away by air molecules!  So, air and water molecules, dust and smoke in the atmosphere filter out certain wavelengths leaving our eyes to only see certain colors.

Recently the atmosphere has been so loaded with smoke particles from western wildfires that only the longest red wavelengths have been able to penetrate through the atmosphere.  And when enough orange and yellow wavelengths are scattered out the sun can appear red!

So red skies at night!  We are going to have a lot more of them this Summer, as long as the wildfires keep burning out west!

Brett’s Blog (More Ding Than Dent)

August 7, 2018 - Leave a Response

The much advertised rain arrived last evening and continued overnight into the first half of Tuesday.  Here’s a look at official rainfall amounts from across the region.

DMA Rainfall Today.png

I wouldn’t say this rain put a dent in the drought.  It was more like a door-ding.  And once again, as has been custom this Summer, it was another feast or famine rain. Below are some radar estimates of rainfall. First, around metro KC and the second graphic expands to show regional rainfall Doppler radar estimates.

KCTV 2018

KCTV 2018_2

One to four inch rainfall amounts appear common.  But sometimes hail can elevate radar estimates. There was some hail in a few of these cells across the northern Missouri so the four inch total near St. Joe may be due to hail contamination but still a healthy drink of water.

So, how far are we behind now in rain?  Here is the latest rainfall report from Kansas City International.

Kansas City Rain

Our next, best chance of rain may not come until the middle part of next week.  Hopefully that will produce the rainfall amounts being advertised by the computer data.  But this far out, a lot can change.  As always, stay tuned!



Brett’s Blog (Monday Night Thunderstorms?)

August 5, 2018 - Leave a Response

There’s a chance of thunderstorms Monday night!  But will it happen?  Computer data has over-promised on rain many times this Summer, so will this finally be the time it rains as advertised?  I’m giving you a heads up in case these thunderstorms develop.  A Marginal Risk of severe weather exists in and around Kansas City for Monday night and Tuesday morning.

DMA Severe Risk plus box.png

Why? Because these thunderstorms could develop very late at night and develop near Kansas City.  These are the thunderstorms that can produce thousands of lightning strikes, dump a quick inch of rain, drop some hail and blow a fierce wind into your backyard all while we are sleeping.  So I just want you to be aware.  Here’s a snapshot of what radar could look like around 3 AM.

New Surface Move.png

These thunderstorms may get a boost from the night-time low level jet stream.  These low level winds develop about five thousand feet above the surface and thunderstorms can carry these winds to the surface.  That might explain why our in-house computer model thinks strong winds in excess of 50 mph will come with the thunderstorms around 3:00 AM.

Severe Wind Gusts.png

Look carefully at the image above and you can see an area of purple that matches a wind gust of more than 50 miles per hour.  Now look just to the right of the purple area. Do you see how the whole area of colors looks curved on its edge?  This would be an outflow boundary that would produce gusty winds before the rain and thunder arrives.  You’ve probably heard wind chimes or leaves rustle before the rains?  Probably some kind of outflow boundary announcing the rains arrival.  Oh, and there is one more threat that comes with these thunderstorms.  Quarter-sized hail.  There might be just enough wind shear to produce some hail. At least that’s what the guidance suggests.

Forecast Hail Threat

Bottom-line, there could be thunderstorms Monday night and early Tuesday morning.  We could use the rain.  Just don’t be caught off guard if the wind starts howling and hail starts falling.  Of course, we will do our best to keep you up to date on what’s blowing through KC.

Brett’s Blog (Sunday’s Rain Disappoints)

July 29, 2018 - Leave a Response

The computer models overpromised.  Mother Nature under-delivered.  Combined Sunday’s rainfall totals across the area were disappointing for many.

DMA Rainfall Today.png

The thunderstorm complex formed as predicted but the main energy went farther south leaving many in northern Missouri and eastern Kansas wondering where the rain went.  Here is a regional look at rainfall accumulation over the last 24 hours.  Follow the path of the heaviest rain and you can see how the main wave tracked far enough south to take most of the moisture farther south.

KCTV 2018.png

Only far northeastern Missouri got any significant rain fall. This is maddening since the storm seemed to get it’s act together once it passed the Kansas City metro.

Busting droughts can be difficult since the weather pattern responsible for the drought doesn’t change overnight.  And there are no signs of a weather pattern change this week.  Take a look at the forecast rain amounts through Saturday August 4th.

Wide Midwest Forecast Track Rain Accumulation.png

Computer data is promising more heat by next weekend.  It would be nice if Mother Nature under-delivered on the heat.  We will have to wait and see.



Brett’s Blog (Drought Update)

July 26, 2018 - Leave a Response

The drought is getting worse.  When it rains, it pours but not for everyone.  July has been harsh, especially for farmers whose crops have endured long stretches without any rain and temperatures that pushed 100 degrees.  Today is only the 5th time it’s rained all month and as you’ll see below, it didn’t rain much.

DMA Rainfall Today

It didn’t rain in the area that needs it the most.  An area along and north of highway 36 from St. Joe to Chillicothe.  Dry, hot July weather has gripped an area from Maryville to Bethany to Trenton to Chillicothe over to Kirksville.  In these areas “Extreme Drought” conditions are occurring.  Across this region July rainfall totals range from a quarter of an inch to an inch. There are isolated three inch pockets of rain but this feast or famine rain set-up isn’t good for corn and other crops.  This week’s drought monitor shows the area covered by extreme drought grew since last week.


DMA_Drought_Monitor 2

There are some rain chances headed our way this weekend.  A wave will form Friday in  Colorado and move into Kansas City on Saturday.  This will bring us rain but as you can see on the graphic below, not a lot.

Midwest Forecast Track Rain Accumulation

There is another chance of rain on Sunday evening as another cold front sags into the region. If this front stalls near the Kansas City area Sunday night then rain chances will increase early next week. This would be our best chance for a widespread, drought denting rain.  But it depends where this front sets up.  A lot of eyes will be watching, hoping the drought doesn’t get worse.




Brett’s Blog (Summer Doldrums? Not this Year)

July 25, 2018 - Leave a Response

The Summer Doldrums! It’s origin dates back to the maritime days when many ships that relied on winds to fill their sails. But when the “Doldrums” took over these tall ships often moved at a slower pace across the Oceans.  Here in KC, the “Doldrums” often describe endless days of sunshine and heat in late July and early August.  It usually happens when the jet stream winds are weaker than at any time of the year.
How does this happen?  The steering currents aloft are formed by temperature or pressure differences.  For instance, during Summer, the temperature difference from Minnesota to Texas can sometimes only be about 10-degrees.  Also, a lack of low pressure systems can create weak winds leaving an area to bake and dry out under intense sunshine.  But this year is different.  Check out the graphic below.  This year there is a large low pressure area over the Great Lakes on Friday.  There is also a strong area of high pressure over the desert southwest.

500mb_Pattern 3.png

This discontinuity in the air pressure, over many miles, helps to create faster winds aloft.  On top of the air pressure difference,  a temperature contrast of more than 20-degrees from Minnesota to Texas has developed.  See the graphic below and you’ll know what I mean.

Midwest Temps.png

Remember a faster jet stream forms near temperature and pressure differences, so this year a faster flow is developing that will push two cold fronts through Kansas City.  One arrives Thursday morning, the second moves in Sunday.

500mb_Pattern 2

The second cold front will help establish northerly winds that will last through Tuesday.  With enough cloud cover and rain it’s possible we won’t get out of the 70s Saturday or Sunday.  These are temperatures we typically see around the first day of Autumn!

Forecast Facts
Yes, a taste of Autumn. But what could really make it feel like Autumn will be the cool morning temperatures.  Sunday and Monday morning lows could drop into the 50s for many around northern Missouri and northeastern Kansas.
Yep, no ho-hum, doldrums weather this year, instead get ready for a fantastic stretch of mid-Summer weather!