Friday, July 31, 2009

3rd coolest July..Next cold front!

It has been a long time since I have blogged, but I have been quite busy so lets get started. As you can probably tell, this Summer has been on the cool side. The NWS has noted this as the third coolest July on record and records date back to 1888! Even this morning, Kansas City nearly broke another record as lows dipped back into the 50's. The low this morning KCI was 55 degrees, the record was 54. Will this cool pattern continue into August?

Well tomorrow, the first day of August certainly wont be hot as a cold front is approaching the area tonight. It developed in the upper Plains and is now in southeast Nebraska, extending south into Kansas and north into Iowa. Take a look at the surface map below where I drew in the front's location:

There is band of rain and thunderstorms out ahead of this front. There will not be any severe weather, except maybe in western Kansas. as the front pushes through. The radar is showing a wekening trend with the rain in central Iowa, so areas in southeast Iowa and northern and eastern Missouri may see no rain at all, but the entire are has about a 50 to 80% chance of rain, so dont rule anything out.

The front will push though between 3:00 AM and 10:00 AM Saturday morning, leaving us with a nice day with highs in the 70's and sunny skies. 70 degree weather doesnt really sound like what temperatures should be during the peak of Summer does it? So will it heat up..?

High pressure is forecast to build in coverage and strengh next week and inch its way toward us as it does so. Will it reach us or not? Take a look at the 500 mb forecast Tuesday:

This forecast is showing us to be on the edge once again and last time this happened, it was just a bit closer but still to the west and southwest of us and resulted in complexes of rain and thunderstorms with a series day after day of damaging wind events across the area. Will this happen again with us being in the northwest flow? I think so, but with the high just a bit further west in this forecast compared to last time, the heavy rain may be in eastern Kansas and southern Missouri. This High or "Anticyclone" has the potential to be just as strong or stronger than any other this Summer, so areas in New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma will be scorching again. Last time the high moved into this area, Witchita, KS hit 107 degrees and Alva, OK hit 117 degrees! The extreme heat around Alva actually caused the air to rise and create what is called a Thermal Low and showers and thunderstorms resulted from it.

Will next week be just as exciting? The potential is there so lets see what Mother Nature has to tell us during this first week of August.

Alex Pickman

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rare July system

Well we have a pretty interesting and uncommon mid to late July storm system developing over us right now. It is almost 2:00 AM and I waited so long to post today, because this more of a nowcasting event as the models arent doing such a great job with this system and the storm is developing right over us, so things are changing all the time. Take a look at the current surface analysis map:

You can see the storm over northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas developing and the area of rain across southeastern Kansas and western Missouri in association with it. This storm will continue to organize as it pushes it way toward central Missouri. As a result, the rain will track out of Kansas and push into Missouri. Here is 12 hour forecast surface analysis map valid 2:PM Tuesday:

This is showing this happening with the rain spreading in across central Missouri. I am not expecting any severe thunderstorms with this, but any embedded thunderstorms could have a lot of lightning. If I am not expecting severe weather, why is this a rare storm system? Well there are many answers to that question.

In the Summer time, we commonly get complexes of thunderstorms that develop in association to small disturbences tracking across the area called MCS's or Mesoscale Convective Systems. These can commonly contain strong storms producing hail and damaging straight line and/or microburst winds. This is not a small disturbence, but a developing strong storm system. This is also unique as it is forming through many layers of the atmosphere. Another factor is we just had 3 straight days of record breaking low temperatures. There are many many more things I could mention as to why this is a rare storm.

So how is it forming? Take a look at the current 500 mb forecast map:

We are experiencing a Diffluent flow aloft as the air is strongly diverging. When you have a set up like this, the air at the surface must rise significantly. Take a look at the map below:

This map above is showing the current 700 mb Vertical Velocity, and it shows the air rising in our area. With this lifting mechenism, the storm is forming, but it isnt moving very fast and with all the rain in place, the set up is there for some flooding problems. I think areas in eastern Kansas and western Missouri have the potential to see 1 to 3 inches with locally up to 5 inches possible. The least likely spot to get in on the heavy rain will be north central Missouri and points east.

I will have a new blog in the morning.

Alex Pickman

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Very nice weekend

Take a look at the current 500 mb map I drew on below:

Notice the high pressure area over the western states, this is making it very hot there and it should continue for a while to come. This is not the case for the eastern United States as a trough has developed. This is one of the dominating features of this years pattern, and as a result, we are experincing a cooler than average summer. Eastern Kansas and Missouri are in a northwest flow. This pattern would likely produce some rain, but not this time around due to a cold front that pushed through a couple days ago. The front was strong for this time of year and completely washed out the high dewpoints into the 40's and brought in cooler air.

Here is the forecast high temperatures for today (Saturday):

You can clearly tell where the trough is as the temperature gradient is pretty impressive. Highs on Saturday will be in 70's to maybe around 80 near Kansas City. Lows tonight will be in the low to upper 50's, likely breaking the record for the third night straight in many locations! Highs for your Sunday will be in the mid to upper 70's and low 80's across the area making for another fantastic day to finish the weekend. This has to have been the best Summer weekend ever with very comfortable highs, and record low temperatures, which is not very common in the southern Plains.

It looks the moisture will start to filter back Monday night and Tuesday, and there will be an increase in the chance of rain and thunderstorms. I will have a new blog later.

Alex Pickman

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tueday forecast

Well a morning MCS (mesoscale Convective System) moved through between 6:00 AM and 12:00 PM. The eastern edge of the complex did have some strong, heavy rain producing thunderstorms, but nothing severe. The MCS is weaking now and is mainly just an area of rain in eastern Missouri, entering Illinois. The clouds and rain are keeping the temperatures down this the low to mid 70's. Take a look at the current surface map:

Notice the temperature contrast. Alva, Oklahoma is 102 degrees and Columbia, Missouri is 70 degrees. The air across Missouri is rain cooled and cloudy. The complex of storms that moved through this morning surpressed the warm front's northward progression a bit, but the system moved by early enough and fast enough that I think upper 80's to low 90's will be possible today as the clearing line is pressing eastward. Locations in northern Missouri may be in the mid 80's today as clouds will stick around longer.

Take a look at the current visible satelite image:

With the sun coming out soon, and the recent morning rain which will begin to evaporate, today and tomorrow will likely be very humid, so even with temperatures in the upper 80's and low 90's, heat indicies will likely range from 95 to 100 degrees.

Will there anymore storms today? There is a developing cold front that will push through later this evening. There may be some thunderstorm development along the front that will likely push through the area this evening. The SPC has our are in a slight risk for severe weather with damaging winds the primary threat.

The rest of the week looks great with highs in the low to mid 80's and a little less humid.

I will have an update later this afternoon.

Alex Pickman

Quick update

This is a quick 3:00 AM update on this morning thunderstorm chances and a Tuesdays high temperatures. There is an area of thunderstorms pushing eastward across central Kansas toward us. I think it will get here and make for a rainy and stormy Tuesday morning. This morning complex should slow down the front and maybe help keep the temperatures a bit cooler...upper 80's and low 90's...

We are under a slight risk of severe weather and any storms that move through may have the potential to produce damaging winds.

I will have a much more in depth blog Tuesday morning.

Alex Pickman

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thunderstorms forming....Updated!

**4:15 AM Update**
Here is a look at the current radar image:

These storms will continue to press eastward and flooding is a concearn and they are not moving very fast and are training over the same areas. Notice the storm near St. Joseph, Missouri. It has had a history of golfball+ sized hail, and winds in access of 60 mph. There is a Sevre Thunderstorm Warning for northeastern Doniphan County, Southern Andrew County, MO....Northern Buchanan County, MO....southeastern Holt County.

I will have another update soon.

Well as expected Thunderstorms have formed in southeast Nebraska, northeast Kansas, and northwest Missouri. These storms are strong, producing very heavy downpours and one storm in Nebraska has turned severe.

The SPC has a new MD (Mesoscale Discussion) out as they are thinkng of issuing a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for northern Missouri.

The thunderstorms should increase in coverage and intensity overnight, and I will keep you updated.

Alex Pickman

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thunderstorms tonight?

Well it was a very interesting day today as an MCS (Mesoscale Convective System) developed in the wee hours of the morning over northern Nebraska and Iowa and was pressing south and eastward toward us. The as it entered Missouri, it began to weaken even given the favorable conditions, but there were some thunderstorms on the western end of the system and they created an outflow boundary that pushed to Kansas City.

It was pretty cool to see temperatures behind the outflow boundary to be in the 70's and 80's and temperatures just on the other side in the 90's. Areas in North Central Missouri such as Chillicothe, Brookfield, and Kirksville didnt even make it out of the 70's! This is the 12th day in a row across this area that has not had a 90+ degree day. That is nothing to complain about having the first 10 days of JULY without 90 degree weather.

Areas around Kansas City had their streak of 11 days below 90 degrees broken today as the highs topped out in the low 90's. Now that isnt really hot for this time of year as the averages for the entire area range between 88 and 90 degrees. This is not the case to the south and west of us, where a significant heat wave is sizzleing Texas, and Oklahoma.

Take a look at the 500 mb flow forecast for Saturday:

This is a pretty strong upper high with heights of nearly 6,000 feet above sea level and as mentioned above is creating a significant heat wave over Texas and Oklahoma where up to 110+ heat is likely.

We are on the edge of this upper level high, and as with all Summertime upper level highs, disturbences rotate around the high, and we are in postion for them to roll right through us. This is what has been happening the past few days, the latest one being this morning with an MCS that made it into North Central Missouri before diminishing.

Our next chance of rain and thunderstorms will be late tonight between 1:00 and 5:00 AM. Thunderstorms are expected to develop in southeastern Nebraska and northen Kansas, and increase in coverage as time passes. With abundant moisture available, the storms will be capable of producing rainfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour. These storms may also be capable of producing large hail and damaging winds. As a result the SPC has the much of the area under a slight risk of severe weather tonight.

I will have an update if anything develops.
Alex Pickman

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Very difficult forecast!

Well as I hinted in the last entry, this is a very tough forecast and will be all week. We will likely be on the very edge of a heatwave across Kansas and Oklahoma where 110's are possible over the next few days. But what about us?

Take a look at the 500 mb flow for Friday:

In the forecast map above we are on the edge of the hot weather, and this as been shifting back and forth between us being near 100 degrees to us being near 90 degrees over the past few model runs. I am now back to thinking it will be near 90 degrees Thursday and Friday as we will likely be on the edge of the hot weather with thunderstorm activity rotating around right through us. There is a slight chance of rain everday as these little disturbences rotate around the high. Those little disturbences will also help keep the temperatures down.

Now what about today? There a small area of thunderstorms drifting southward near the Missouri/Kansas border. The rain and cloud cover and an outflow boundary from this should keep us in the 80's.

I will have a new blog tomorrow.

Alex Pickman

My take on the upcoming heat

You sit at home watching your favorite news station today waiting for the weather to come on before you head out. You hear the meteorologist you rely on say 99 degrees for Friday, July 10 with a heat index of 105+. You head to work thinking that Friday was going to be near 100 degrees, then you hear another forecast on the radio saying Friday will be 95 degrees, then another forecast saying the high will be 91 degrees. Who is right?

This a problem we will be having this week as there are many uncertainties as to the highs over the next week. Just to show an example here is a list of forecast highs for Friday from forecasters in Kansas City (not to mention names)

99 Degrees
96 Degrees
95 Degrees
92 Degrees

As you can see the temperatures range from near 100 to near 90 degrees and it is like this for every single day this week. Well lets see where I am leaning to in that range of temperatures. Here is the 500 mb map for Friday:

The air will be calm, sinking, and warming under the high pressure, but look where the center is located. This means the hottest air will lie acrosswestern Kansas and Oklahoma where highs will likely reach 110 degrees. Our area is located in the circle of high height, so it will likely be pretty warm here too. I am thinking highs may be in the mid to upper 90's around the area on Thursday and Friday with heat indicies up to maybe 105+ But the next model may shift us to the edge with some thunderstorms and we could be in the low end of the scale with highs in the upper 80's and lower 90's. So dont be surprised if tomorrow I going with highs Thursday and Friday near 90 degrees.

But before we get to Thursday and Friday we have to deal with Wednesday (today) Highs today should top out in the upper 80's and low 90's with sunshine. Once again there will be numerous cumulous clouds popping up around noon through the afternoon, and some of these could build into a few showers and thunderstorms with heavy downpours. These isolated showers will diminish overnight. There is really a slight chance of thunderstorms everyday this week.

Now will we get a break from this heat, there is a chance as a cold front may make it into the area Saturday night or Sunday morning. Highs Saturday looks to be in the 90's once again, but Sunday has potential to "cool" into the 80's especially if we can get some thunderstorms with the front.

Next week is looking quite WARM, but I will talk about that later.

Alex Pickman

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday afternoon storms

Well as you can expect in July, there are some showers and thunderstorm popping up in northern Missouri. Here is a look at the current radar image:

These storms are nearly stationary and are just producing some heavy downpours. The chance of a storm or shower at your house is less than 5%, but dont be surprised if it does rain. These pop up showers and storm will continue through the afternoon and will diminish this evening and they lose their energy source, the sun.

So expect sunny to variably cloudy skies today with highs in the mid to upper 80's around the area. There is a chance of an isolated shower or thunderstorm this afternoon.

I will have a blog tomorrow about my take on the upcoming heat.

Alex Pickman

Monday, July 6, 2009

Heat is on the way!

Well as I mentioned in the last blog we did have our end of the week rain and thunderstorms. Unfortunately they fell on Friday morning, Friday night, and Saturday morning. The good news was that with the rain and a cold front the past weekend was excellent with highs in the 70's and low 80's! But it is July now and as you know those cool days are pretty uncommon and the heat is likely to return.

This is exactly the case this week as the high pressure system that brought us the week of 90's last week is moving our way once again. Last week, the high built in, but didnt dominate the weather as a cold front pushed it out of the area, bringing the rain and cooler conditions.

Now that high pressure is working its way back in from the southwest and it is going to get hot. take a look at the 500 mb map below:

The high will work its way toward us over the next few days and will be in full force by the end of the week. The first places to heat up near us will be Oklahoma and western Kansas and may sizzle into 110's in spots.

Here is the 500 mb map for Friday:

As you can by the end of the week, the high will be near us and we will be well into the 90's and with high humidity, heat indicies will likely be 105+ The good news is it shouldnt last a long time as just like last time, it will be pushed out of the area soon.

So Summer is back in force again this week. There is a chance of some storms this weekend, but it is not very high I will see how it looks later.

For your Monday (today) expect abundant sunshine with temperatures in the low to mid 80's across the area. I think there could be a few isolated pop up showers or thunderstorms across northern Missouri. Winds will be light to calm across the region today and tonight with high pressure over the area behind the recent cold front.

I will have a new blog soon.

Alex Pickman