Weather Blog - High Fire Danger Today With A Big Warm Up & Changes Later In The Week

Posted at 7:48 AM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 09:57:51-05

Good morning bloggers,

HIGH FIRE DANGER TODAY: The National Weather Service calls it a Red Flag Warning! The winds will blow from the south at up to 45 mph later today, and it is dry.

Weather Summary:

An interesting weather pattern is setting up for the weekend. And, there is a concern from our weather department: it is dry, and we need the rain.

The new LRC is still evolving and setting up. it will be firmly set within a week or two based on what we are seeing. We are going through the first cycle of this years weather pattern and it has not been a kind beginning for those interested in weather in our area. Just look at what happened Saturday evening. Thunderstorms began forming near the state line and then intensified one half of a county east of downtown, yes right over Blue Springs, MO and south to Harrisonville. A Tornado Watch was issued for areas just east and south of KC. And, then the thunderstorms intensified as they moved away. The KC metro area once again was not under the tornado watch, and we have gone all of 2020 without being under one Tornado Watch. We will discuss this incredible statistic in a few days. Did you see the Sunday night football game in New England? They had 50 mph winds and a severe thunderstorm warning during the game. It was very difficult for the players and New England upset the Baltimore Ravens. That severe thunderstorm and rain they had began right here when the first thunderstorm formed over the Kansas/Missouri state line Saturday evening. This is an example of why it is so hard to predict our weather, and much easier in New England. New England gets to see our thunderstorms forming and then they predict something that exists and you can see. Here in KC, we often have to predict when the blue sky will change into a stormy sky. There is nothing to see until it forms right over your head. So, for weather enthusiasts in our area, we have a problem, a forecast problem, and possibly a dry problem.

Look at the rainfall stats above. We have had 1.52" since this LRC began on October 6. This is 34% of the 4.40" average during this time. Last year was also very dry in October and November, even drier than this year, and we ended up around 6" of rain below average for the LRC year, which is from October 6-October 5 of the next year. When the season starts this dry, it often ends up drier than average. What is going on? Let's take a look at the set up for this next storm.

The weekend storm:

This map above shows the 500 mb flow. 500 mb is around half way up in the atmosphere it weight. The top of the atmosphere weighs nothing or 0 mb. MB stands for milibar, which is a measure of pressure or the weight of the atmosphere above us. At the surface the average pressure is 1013.25 mb at sea level. So, 500 mb is half way up, and around 18,000 feet above us. We look at this level to find storm systems. If you look closely, there is a stretched out, and disorganized trough in two pieces heading into the plains early Saturday. The problem for rain production is the strength of this upper level storm. If it is any weaker, then most of the rain will shift south. It needs to be a bit stronger, but the trend is in the weaker direction. If this weaker trend continues, many areas could end up with 0.10" of rain or less. By Sunday, the troughs begin to combine north and east of KC as you can see below:

As these approach and pass us by, there is a set up for some rain, but I have concerns once again as to how much will fall in our area. As Jeff Penner has been showing us in the blog, it has been very dry along and north of I-70, and we really could use a good drink of water. We have get over an inch of rain out of this set up, but once again there will likely be spots that have under 1/4 inch once again.

This surface set up and precipitation forecast has been shifting farther and farther south with each model run. This model run, our in-house model, shows KC in the middle of this band. In wet patterns, this would look wetter and wetter as it approaches, but right now it is looking drier and drier. So, I would like to see how the models come in this morning, and we will update you on the newscasts today and tonight. Right now I am in the 0.25" to 1.00" rainfall amounts for this storm. Let's see how we adjust up or down as it approaches.

As you can see, I am concerned about getting the low end rainfall totals once again?

Thanksgiving Outlook:

On Thanksgiving Day, this map above shows a system racing across southern Canada. This will likely drag a weak November cold front across our area on next TG Day, and the timing is not certain. But, this is not a major storm system at the moment. Things can change fast, and since we are still learning this new LRC, I don't know enough yet. If this is right, then the weather over most of the nation will be fairly nice on Thanksgiving and the days around that weekend.

There are other pieces to the Weather Forecasting Accuracy Formula, and tomorrow we will discuss the Arctic Oscillation, and it's likely influence on this winter! Our winter forecast is coming out in two weeks!

KC Weather Time-Line:

  • Today: 100% sunshine and windy. The winds will gust from the south as high as 45 mph. There is a high fire danger today. High: 69°
  • Tonight: Clear and windy. South winds 10-25 mph and gusty. Low: 57°
  • Thursday: Mostly sunny, windy, and warmer. South winds 15-30 mph. High: 74°

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the Action Weather Blog. Have a great Wednesday.