FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- The middle of May is offering up a bumpy ride weather-wise.
We’ve got two potent storm systems headed our way, so we will go over the setup, the kinds of severe weather we could see and the timing of the thunderstorms.
Let’s start with the setup. The two storms we will track between today and early next week are easy to pick out on the radar and satellite composite map. I’ve pointed red arrows to the two storms on the graphic above.
The first storm will move into the central plains during the day Saturday. It will draw moisture into the storm from the gulf of Mexico. Strong winds circulating around the area of low pressure associated with the storm will help to create instability. Colder air aloft, within the storm, will help to get air rising, then cooling and condensing into storm clouds.
This is a basic setup for severe weather. This first storm, has enough juice, energy and instability to prompt the Storm Prediction Center to issue a Slight Risk outlook for most of the central plains beginning Saturday morning and lasting through Sunday morning.
The greatest risk for severe weather, as of Friday afternoon, was over eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas. This is where numerous severe weather reports may be found and the highest threats for a tornado should be in the Enhanced severe weather outlook area.
In Kansas City, there is a slight risk of severe weather, meaning we could have scattered reports of damaging wind gusts, large hail and maybe even a tornado warning.
Let’s take a deeper dive and talk about when KC could see severe weather and the types of severe weather that are possible. First, I want to show you a map where I’ve plotted the storm energy contours in red, yellow and green. These are areas of CAPE (convective available potential energy). Remember that the higher the CAPE, the better chance of severe weather. I’ve overlaid a radar simulation using our in-house Rapid Precision Mesoscale Model.
The above graphic shows Kansas City’s best chance of severe weather arriving mid-afternoon. Sufficient energy and a cold front should combine to create the threat for large hail and high winds from 2 p.m. to about 4 p.m. These storms would move from south to north through the region.
This next part is interesting, so don’t miss it. Once these thunderstorms move through the area, the CAPE drops dramatically. Even if a second line of thunderstorms can develop over central Kansas or northern Oklahoma Saturday evening, they would likely weaken as they move into our area because of the lack of sufficient energy.
But before we let our guard down, let’s go back to the 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. time frame, where the severe weather threat may be highest near KC. According to high resolution data, there is a chance for a couple of the storms near and just east of Kansas City to become supercells that could rotate. This means there is a threat for tornadoes. It may end up being very low threat but a threat is a threat when it comes to severe weather and a reason to pay attention. Also, a rotating storm -- if it doesn’t spin up a twister -- can drop some large hail. Just a heads-up.
And, we’re not done yet. The second storm off the west coast arrives early next week. Believe it or not, this storm looks like it will be stronger. There will be some near record winds aloft for the month of May associated with this storm as it moves into the central plains.
I think we have a real threat for severe thunderstorms Monday night or Tuesday with damaging winds, heavy rain and severe flash flooding being the biggest threats. We are five days away and the SPC has already outlined a good chunk of real estate in the middle of the country as an area for possible severe weather.
Perhaps the biggest threat from the Monday-Tuesday storm will be heavy rain. The Weather Prediction Center says there’s a possibility of up to 7 inches of rain between Saturday and next Thursday. Most of the rain is predicted to fall between Monday night and Tuesday night. This type of rainfall would cause flash flooding.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: Don’t drive around barricades and don’t drive through high water.
So, buckle up because it’s about to get bumpy. Let’s hope things settle down by the time we reach Memorial Day.
Also, now is a good time to download the KCTV5 weather app if you haven’t done so already. Check back throughout the weekend for updates and stay connected with us on Facebook and Twitter. Have a safe weekend!