FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for the entire Kansas City metro until 10 p.m. Tuesday.
It’s been a seemingly endless stretch of severe weather across the central and southern plains, and today is no different.
Strong southwesterly winds aloft are fueling another set up for potentially damaging thunderstorms.
There is an ample supply of moisture and enough heat and energy in the atmosphere for strong or severe thunderstorms. But, we need a spark.
We have that spark today in the form of a surface low pressure area that is attached to a stationary boundary draped across northern Kansas.
There is also a trailing cold front that stretches from the low pressure area all the way into Texas.
These three features come together in an area known as the "triple point." Below is a depiction of the surface features as 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The storm’s triple point can often be where the surface storms’ most dangerous weather can be found. Air flows counter clockwise around an area of low pressure and that can help enhance the change of wind direction with height, otherwise known as shear. The cold front will aid in lifting the air. Converging air along the stationary boundary will also help to fire off thunderstorms.
All in all, this area can be really volatile when it comes to thunderstorms.
It’s one of the reasons the Storm Prediction Center has placed the greatest threat of severe weather extending from the triple point to the east.
Here is the SPC’s Severe Weather Outlook posted early Tuesday afternoon.
I’ve added simulated radar over the severe weather risk levels.
Red is a moderate risk of severe weather.
Notice how most, if not all, of the thunderstorms are moving through the region shaded in red at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
These thunderstorms have the greatest potential to be intense long-lasting thunderstorms that could spawn numerous severe weather warnings including a tornado warning. The “triple point” is forecast to move through this red area as the night progresses.
Below is a look at the types of hazards we will face this evening. The red arrow represents how much confidence we have in tonight’s thunderstorms producing certain severe weather threats.
Every time I write a blog about severe weather, I feel compelled to remind everyone to make sure they know what weather watches or warnings have been issued in your area. That might mean checking your phone often or downloading the StormTrack5 Weather App so you can keep an eye on radar.
Here’s a tip, if a tornado watch is issued it’s better to not travel, unless it’s 100% necessary. Getting caught in a large hail storm or worse a tornado can be a frightening experience.
Let me end this blog with some good news.
This round of severe weather might be one of the last severe weather set ups we have this spring.
Next week, the jet stream and the storm track shift far to the north. That means some intense heat here in Kansas City, but at least it would put an end to the endless string of severe weather outbreaks.