KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Could the Kansas City area's mild winter lead to a warm and dry spring, or will it be wet and potentially wild? The city of Joplin, Missouri is still rebuilding after a catastrophic EF5 tornado struck May 22, 2011. It was the third tornado to strike Joplin since May 1971.
Looking at this winter season, the Kansas City area could set an all-time record for the least amount of snow in a winter season. The ground didn't even freeze. It was actually a wet winter. Kansas City had nearly five inches of rain in November, 2011 and more than three inches in December, 2011.
The Kansas City area dried out in January, 2012, but it got wet again in February, 2012. The generous amount of rain came from several different storm systems. I believe that's a strong indication of a wet spring ahead.
New 41 Action News Weather Forecasting Method
The 41 Action News weather team uses a new forecasting method to make accurate weather forecasts called the LRC – Lezak's Recurring Cycle. Meteorologist Jeff Penner remembered last year's spring forecast well.
"Last year we picked out May 22 to June 1, 2011 and sure enough, May 22 was that awful tornado in Joplin," said Penner. "You can pick out and look at previous cycles and then project out how this looks like it will happen in May. The advantage we have going out into this spring is we've seen three cycles going. Going into winter we haven't seen enough cycles so we get smarter as each month goes along and more accurate with time."
We have been learning a lot more about my theory in recent years. Here are the basics:
- A unique weather pattern sets up every year in the first few weeks of fall (October 1 - November 10).
- A cycle length evolves and the pattern continues through winter, spring, and into the early part of summer.
- This year's cycle has been between 45 and 55 days.
We used the LRC and other factors when making our winter forecast. So how did we do?
Winter Forecast Accuracy Check
- Rain will cut into snowfall totals. Check. (We just didn't think it would cut into all snowfall totals.)
- Snowfall will be around 21". Wrong.
- We weren't expecting a cold winter. Check.
- There may be a major ice storm. Wrong.
- Above average precipitation. Check.
- The drought south and southwest of Kansas City will get some significant relief. Check.
Gary Lezak's Spring 2012 Forecast
With this same pattern moving into spring we are forecasting:
- Above average rainfall (15.62" is average.)
- Near to above average temperatures.
Spring 2012 Severe Weather Potential
Severe weather season is about to begin and we can use the LRC to pick out which dates are most likely going to experience severe weather in our viewing area.
Kansas City rarely has more than four or five serious set-ups for severe weather each season. We think it may be a bit above average this spring. We are forecasting three storm systems capable of producing severe weather in April.
We are expecting a stormy May with thunderstorms on many days, a few of which will be severe. It will likely be a wet month.
Finally, June should calm down a bit as summer approaches, but expect two or three active stretches.