FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- There is little doubt this will be a busy weather week across the Kansas City area. High winds, hail, deadly lightning, tornadoes and flash flooding will all be possible and it all starts tonight!
Three storms will combine to bring us our stormiest week so far in 2019. Let’s go over the setup and get you prepared for what to expect. Take a look at the Water Vapor image from Sunday afternoon.
Remember that water vapor is always present in the atmosphere but the purple areas show you where the moisture content is higher. You can see Storm 1 has abundant moisture to work with Sunday night and Monday morning, and that will lead to some heavy rainfall. We also have a marginal risk of severe weather Sunday night and Monday morning. The biggest threat is wind and hail but a quick tornado spin up cannot be ruled out. Here is the Severe Risk outlook issued Sunday afternoon.
Go back and look at the Water Vapor image again. Now take a look at Storm 2, southwest of Los Angeles. This water vapor image shows a swirl that spirals inward. That spiral is Storm 2, a strong upper level low that will move into the Rocky mountains sometime Tuesday.
Storm 3 is a little harder to see but if you look carefully you might be able to see a small swirl near Seattle. Storm 3 will move into the northern plains and combine with Storm 2 to bring Kansas City and most of Missouri and Kansas a threat of severe weather Tuesday. The Storm Prediction Center already has a slight risk issued for most of the Midwest.
There is a greater threat of severe weather Tuesday because the humidity will be higher and the instability will be greater. Take a look at graphic below. It shows available energy for thunderstorms. I’ve simplified it to just show areas where the available energy will be low, moderate, high or very high.
Notice much of Missouri and parts of Kansas are covered mostly in yellow. But, there is also a small area of red, which indicates high available potential energy that could lend itself to some stronger thunderstorms which could include a tornado spin up.
Another ingredient that could help thunderstorms turn severe on Tuesday will be wind shear. Wind shear is created when the wind changes direction the higher you go up in the atmosphere. Or, shear can be created when winds aloft change speeds over distance. Below you will see the area in blue which highlights where the low level jet stream could create wind shear Tuesday evening.
The area in green represents a “Jet Max” or an area where the wind speed is greater than surrounding winds. This Jet Max will move north with time into the eastern half of Missouri Tuesday night. This area must be watched as it could be the extra punch needed for several severe thunderstorms Tuesday night.
In addition to the severe threat, we have a flash flood threat from Monday morning through Thursday afternoon. Several rounds of thunderstorms will focus and fall on a stalled boundary that will wobble across the Midwest this week.
There is potential to see as much as four inches of rain this week and some cases up to six inches of rain. That’s enough to cause creeks and rivers to rise and create dangerous flash flooding.
Remember to never drive through high water and obey all barricades that protect you from potential danger. You can get latest flash flood warnings and other severe weather alerts from our free KCTV5 weather app. Go ahead and download that now if you haven’t already. You can do so here.
That should get you ready for what will be the most active weather week we’ve seen so far this year.