Weather Blog - 880 Days Since Kansas City's Last Tornado Watch & A Big 25-year Anniversary

October Surprise 3
Posted at 8:02 AM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 09:23:55-04

Good morning bloggers,

There is a lot to discuss today:

  • There was frost this morning around Kansas City
  • A storm system is approaching us this weekend
  • Saturday will be the 880th day in a row without a Tornado Watch being issued for Kansas City
  • It was 25 years ago that we had "The October Surprise" when 5 to 8 inches of snow fell on October 22, 1996 creating a disaster

880 DAYS!

It has been 880 days since the Kansas City metro counties of Platte, Clay, Wyandotte, Johnson, and Jackson counties have been in a tornado watch. The last watch was issued by the Storm Prediction Center on May 28th, 2019, or 879 days ago. Tomorrow makes it 880 days. Could there be a Tornado Watch Sunday? Right now it looks likely east of KC, and we will be on the edge. The storm would have to slow down a bit for one to be issued here.

25 Years Ago Today: "The October Surprise"

Here is an entry from my weather calendar from this date in 1996:

October Surprise 3

I remember this day well. We were predicting a possibility of the heavy rain mixing with snowflakes. Well, they didn't just mix in! The rain changed to snow and became heavy and didn't stop until the trees came crashing down. It was also our first freeze of the season that happened during daylight hours. Just incredible! People were without power for a week.

October 1996

My mom would by me a calendar for my holiday present each year, and I would use it as my weather calendar. My mom died in 2014, and I miss her and her calendar presents that she gave me every December. This is the one she surprised me with in 1995. Here is another entry from that calendar with the maps from that big storm:

October Calendar 1996

And, I made a winter forecast that month. I was around a decade into the LRC discovery!

Saturday will mark the 880th day since our last Tornado Watch. Let's look at the set up for Sunday:

7 AM Sunday Forecast

This map above shows a strong surface cyclone developing and zipping across central Kansas Sunday morning. There is a strong warm front just south of KC, that can be seen if you look closely at the kinks in the isobars. Thunderstorms are along and north of this front. And, then look at what happens next:

7 PM Sunday Forecast

This second map shows that the surface low is already in southeastern Iowa by 7 PM Sunday. If this forecast is right, then the American Model will have beaten the other models big time. It has had the faster storm all along. BUT, IS IT RIGHT? If this system slows down, then the risk of severe weather would be closer to Kansas City. Right now, I continue to lean in the faster solution.

Risk From The SPC (Storm Prediction Center):

Level 3 out of 5 risk

The SPC has KC near the significant risk. They have been shifting this farther north and east with each model run. We will be monitoring this closely as just a bit slower and our area will have a chance of our first Tornado Watch in 880 days. The new data will come in today and I will present it to you on Friday Night In The Big Town.

We had various types of fog this morning that Wes Peery discussed in his last two entries of KSHB-41 Weather Academy. The fog has lifted and it will be a beautiful day.

Kansas City Weather Time-Line:

  • Today: Nearly 100% sunshine with light winds. High: 67°
  • Tonight: Increasing clouds. Low: 49°
  • Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of drizzle, and possibly a thunderstorm. High: Near 60°. A 70% chance of thunderstorms after sunset Saturday night!
  • Sunday: Thunderstorms likely during the morning. The wind shifting to the southwest and west at 20 mph. The chance of rain is 70% early and 30% during the afternoon. Once the front moves through the chance of thunderstorms goes down to 0%. There is a risk of severe thunderstorms, so we will be monitoring the speed of this storm closely.

Thank you for sharing in this weather experience and spending a few minutes of your day reading the weather blog. Have a great Friday! We will keep you updated on the weekend storm system.