Weather Blog: Active May in Kansas City continues with threat of severe weather Friday

Friday AM Outlook
Posted at 11:41 AM, May 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-12 12:44:59-04

May is the most active month of severe weather for Kansas City and we have been experiencing it.

There is a chance of severe weather today/tonight including the Kansas City area with the threats of damaging wind gusts, hail and even a couple tornadoes.

The best chance for severe weather overall is in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has put Maryville in a level three of five risk shaded in orange.

Everyone else is in a level two of five shaded in yellow.

Friday AM Outlook

There is still some uncertainty when storms will develop, so let's go through two scenarios. It will all come down to when and where storms develop.

Historically, storms that move through eastern Missouri and western Kansas from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in May are more likely to produce tornadoes and generally all types of severe weather.

The graph below shows how frequently during a given time of day the National Weather Service Kansas City has issued tornado warnings in May.

Tornado Warning Frequency

Scenario #1

Storms develop in eastern Kansas between 3 p.m to 6 p.m. near Topeka and move east.

This would allow for storms to take advantage of the daytime fuel of heat and more likely to produce severe weather hazards of all types.

NAM Model

Scenario #2

Storms develop after 6 p.m. and will be more likely to lose their strength as they progress east.

But if they develop even closer to us than models indicate, their late development is a moot point.

HRRR Model

In either scenario, we will watch the corners of Kansas and Missouri as those storms will be closest to the area of low pressure and have a better chance to produce tornadoes.

Friday morning tornado outlook

Kansas City is included in the brown shaded region, indicating the "higher" tornado threat, but I think overall the threat will be closer to the low pressure.

It's not just the Kansas City area that could see storms.

As a boundary comes through, storms may develop along it and move east, which means all of eastern Kansas and western Missouri could see storms Friday afternoon or evening.

Once cumulus clouds begin to develop in Kansas this afternoon, we will have a better idea of storm timing.

Be on the look out for watches to be issued this afternoon.