FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- It’s a couple of days away but keep a weather eye out Thursday evening for the potential for strong or severe thunderstorms in the Kansas City area. We’ve got a fairly strong cold front headed our way that brings a likely chance of rain and the rain could be heavy at times.
If you’ve been outside, you know it’s very muggy. That humidity is one of the ingredients needed for thunderstorms. Think of humidity as the fuel thunderstorms need for development. Just one glance at the map below and you can see we’ve got a lot of juice, now all we need is some energy to ignite the fuel.
We should get that energy and plenty of it in the form of heat and instability during the day on Thursday. We expect temperatures to climb into the mid or even upper 80’s Thursday. Add cooler air aloft to surface heat and mix in the humidity and you’ve got a set up for severe weather.
Take a look at the forecast Storm Energy Thursday afternoon. I’ve circled the area where the energy is the greatest. This is the area where the strongest thunderstorms may form Thursday afternoon. Thunderstorms may also form all the way into west Texas, but the strongest thunderstorms should be over Missouri.
Buoyant, unstable air just needs a nudge to start rising. Cold fronts provide the necessary lift to get the process started and we’ve got a cold front forecast to arrive Thursday afternoon at the peak time of heating and instability. It appears the atmosphere will be ripe for thunderstorm development as we head into Thursday evening.
If you look closely at the above map, you might see the orange shaded areas along the cold front. These are simulated radar echoes that suggest pockets of heavy rain will be possible. Looking at a value called precipitable water gives meteorologists an idea of much rain could fall.
Precipitable water calculates how much rain would fall if you condensed all the water vapor above our heads from the surface to the top of the atmosphere. Thursday’s precipitable water values are in the neighborhood of two inches of rain. That jibes with what our in-house model is predicting for rainfall.
In addition to heavy rainfall, we must be on guard for thunderstorms with brief damaging winds or large hail. And when these thunderstorms first fire up, we’ll be watching Live Power Doppler to see if any of these thunderstorms start to rotate. In this kind of environment, even though the threat is small, there remains a threat of a quick tornado spin up.
Right now, the Storm Prediction Center has placed the Kansas City area in a slight risk outlook for severe weather. If thunderstorms form earlier in the day and closer to Kansas City, then the risk of severe may shift farther south into southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri. We will be able to pin this down a little closer to Thursday.
At this time, the slight risk covers most of northwest Missouri and east central Kansas. Keep checking back because it’s common for these risk areas to shift or even be upgraded the closer to we get to severe weather events.
Severe weather in September isn’t unusual. We typically see a slight uptick of severe weather reports in September. And September thunderstorms can bring a threat for a rare tornado. Missouri and Kansas average around two tornadoes every September.
Here’s the bottom-line, if the kids have after school activities on Thursday or if you are planning to be outside Thursday evening. Keep an eye on your KCTV Storm Track 5 Weather App and make sure you have a way to get work of severe weather warnings that could be issued.
It’s a couple of days away and we will be updating the forecast, but we just wanted to put the prospects of severe weather on your radar, so to speak. In the meantime, try to stay as cool as you can.