The trees are leafing out, the grass is growing fast and now it’s feeling like spring thanks to some higher humidity. But will it get juicy enough to get some big, bad spring thunderstorms in Kansas City?
The potential is there, but forecast humidity, measured with dewpoints, are only marginally high enough to support severe weather.
I like to see dew points higher than 62 to have a real shot at severe thunderstorms, but dew points in the upper 50s might not be high enough to get the job done. The deeper, richer moisture Wednesday evening is over Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, but the heat energy will be high enough over Kansas and Missouri for severe weather.
We measure the amount of thunderstorm energy by looking at a value called, C.A.P.E. or Convection Available Potential Energy. At one point Wednesday afternoon, high-resolution data paints as much as 3,000 joules of CAPE over eastern Kansas and western Missouri. That would be enough for severe weather. But……….
But a warm layer of air aloft may prevent the warm air at the surface from rising to a level where cumulus clouds would build into thunderstorms. We say the atmosphere is capped in this kind of environment. If the rising air can break the cap, then thunderstorms would erupt closer to Kansas City. That’s not likely to happen until a cold front arrives after 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Here is a look the forecasted position of the frontal boundaries Wednesday evening.
The biggest threat for severe weather in Kansas City will be large hail. The tornado and wind damage threat is low. That’s because wind shear or changing wind direction with height will be limited.
Still, there could be enough shear to get a few thunderstorms turning and support some strong updrafts in thunderstorms that could produce some quarter-sized or larger hail across the region.
The graphic below shows areas where thunderstorms will have the best chance of supporting strong updrafts that could produce severe hail.
The highest hail potential for the Kansas City metro appears to be near the cold front between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. This is where the wind shear could increase for a couple of hours giving us the threat of large hail. The threat will quickly fade after midnight.
So let’s look at the graphic below and then I will sum up our threat and go over the timeline for possible severe weather Wednesday night.
Kansas City is under a slight risk for severe thunderstorms. This means we could see scattered severe thunderstorms. The thunderstorms won’t last long but isolated intense storms are possible. The tornado threat is very low. The wind threat is low. There is a chance to see a few thunderstorms with quarter-sized hail and maybe an isolated thunderstorm or two with golf-ball sized hail. Our threat is between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. These thunderstorms could contain downpours which could lead to localized, short-lived flooding.
Make sure and watch KCTV5 News Wednesday and check your KCTV5 weather app throughout the day. It will be a day that will start off feeling like spring and by the end of the day could sound like spring thanks to scattered thunderstorms.