The Kansas City metro will see beautiful weather to start the week, with warm and breezy conditions providing a perfect chance to get outside. But be mindful that within a couple of days this warm and tranquil weather could turn stormy.
We are tracking this energy currently off the west coast.
As this wave moves toward the central plains, it will bring warm and more humid air into our region. On the map below I added a surface humidity contour, shaded in green. The blue shaded area represents the Jet Stream. The winds aloft will transport humidity from the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean into the southern and central plains.
The Jet Stream also helps to create wind shear in the atmosphere. Wind shear occurs when the winds change direction the higher you are in the atmosphere. For instance; there could be a southwest wind at 5,000 feet while at 15,000 feet the wind could be west. This difference in wind direction can start large thunderstorms turning.
If the thunderstorms start turning, updrafts in the thunderstorms can become stronger. Stronger updrafts can lead to large hail or even tornadoes. Especially when there is a cold front with north or northwest winds at the surface. We will have a cold front heading into unstable air. This is the setup we will likely find Wednesday evening.
The Storm Prediction Center has placed a large portion of the central and southern plains in a severe weather outlook area. As of Monday evening, Kansas City was in a slight risk area for severe weather.
An enhanced area of severe weather, the orange shaded area, exists over southern Oklahoma and southwestern Arkansas. This is an area where severe weather will most likely occur. If we look at our in-house computer model, we can see how the setup leads to numerous thunderstorms in the enhanced outlook area.
But you will also notice thunderstorms near Wichita. These thunderstorms will likely track into the Kansas City area after midnight and may bring a large hail threat to the metro. The thunderstorms ahead of the dryline or boundary between humid and dry air, will move into Arkansas overnight.
The bigger tornado threat will exist across the Kiowa and Ouachita mountain regions due to higher amounts of instability, wind shear and moisture. Using a special in-house computer model that tracks hail potential, it appears Kansas City’s biggest threat for severe weather will be large hail. An elevated threat of severe weather will be found across north-central Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas.
Severe weather can also bring heavy rain. That’s a concern since we’ve had river flooding recently in Kansas and Missouri. At this point, it appears flooding rains will be well east of Kansas City in the Mississippi river valley where three to four inches of rain could fall by Friday night.
Yes, the weather is beautiful and breezy right now but this is the perfect time to review your severe weather safety plan and perhaps clean out your shelter and restock your emergency kit. It’s also a good time to download the KCTV5 weather app.
Thank you for taking some time and reading our blog. Check back for updates as we get closer to Wednesday night.
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