Weather Blog: Memorial Day severe weather risks

Our Last Tornado Watch
Posted at 6:56 AM, May 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 09:27:28-04

Good Memorial Day morning,

Today we remember those who died while serving the United States of America. The weather is looking pretty nice, yet windy and fairly warm. Expect a high of near 88° with winds gusting up to 40 mph. That is around 180 mph less than what happened just over three years ago.

Look closely at this screenshot from our tornado coverage from over three-years ago. Look a the box in the upper left. What do you see?

May 28, 2019

Our Last Tornado Watch

In that warning map in the upper left corner you can see the orange shade and the red shade. The red shade shows a Tornado Warning, and you can see radar image clearly showing the tornado. The orange shade shows the Tornado Watch that included the entire KC metro area counties. We have not had one Tornado Watch for the entire viewing area since that day, almost 1100 days in a row now!

While severe weather season has been quiet in KC for years now, it doesn't mean there won't be a serious threat with any of these setups. Today, there is a serious setup. It is located due north of our region and we will discuss today in this blog.

May In Kansas City:

What a May! Thank about this: We have had highs in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s this month! Wow!

May Extremes

This week will be a week with highs in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I doubt we have a high in the 50s, although Wednesday has a chance of being rather cool depending on rain falling Wednesday.

The Arctic Oscillation (AO):

Arctic Oscillation (AO)

The AO is dipping negative right now. This rarely happens during the month of June. Okay, It isn't June yet, but this is a rare big dip for this time of the year. When the AO dips deeper negative it most likely will be a symptom of cooler air moving farther south. During the winter it often leads to an Arctic blast. For this time of the year it still will have an impact, and the cooler Wednesday and the chance of thunderstorms will get a little boost from this dip to negative 2 or lower.

Surface Forecast Tonight:

A cold front will be approaching our region tonight. This front will likely stall Tuesday, but where will it stall? This is very important for any severe weather risk on Tuesday. By later tonight, just after midnight as shown below, the front will be drifting southeast. It will be located northwest of KC, and there will be a few thunderstorms near the front:

Surface Forecast Valid 1 AM Tonight

The front will likely stall, and it may stall near KC. Some of the models have it stalling near KC, while others have it stalling near the Lake of the Ozarks:

Surface Forecast Valid 9 AM Tuesday

This map above shows the blue/red/blue/red alternating line, the stationary front. There will be a risk of severe weather near KC on Tuesday, and there is a major risk of severe weather today. Let's take a look at these risks.

Severe Weather Risks from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC):

There is a chance of a severe weather outbreak today. A Moderate Risk (Level 4 out of 5 risk) has been placed over Minnesota and the eastern Dakota's:

Severe Outlook Today & Tonight
Tornado Risk Today & Tonight

The SPC did increase our risk tonight as well. I have done some in-depth analysis, and there is a risk around 6 to 10 PM tonight north and west of KC. We will have to watch and see if this develops closer to our area this evening.

From the SPC:

"Numerous severe thunderstorms are forecast across parts of the Northern Plains and Upper Mississippi Valley southward into the central Plains today into tonight. Large to giant hail, 60-80 mph gusts, and tornadoes are probable, including the possibility for a couple of intense long-track tornadoes.

Outbreak of Severe Storms and Tornadoes Likely Today Across Parts of Northeast South Dakota, Far Southeast North Dakota and Western and Northern Minnesota......Northern Plains/Upper Mississippi Valley...An upper-level low, and an associated powerful 90 to 100 knot mid-level jet, will eject quickly north-northeastward across the central and northern Plains today. At the surface, a low will move northward across the eastern Dakotas. To the east of the surface low track, a moist and unstable airmass will be in place, with MLCAPE forecast to increase into the 2000 to 3000 J/kg range by late morning. As the exit region of the mid-level jet moves into the central Plains this morning, scattered convection is forecast to initiate in central Nebraska. These storms are expected to increase in coverage, moving north-northeastward into eastern South Dakota by early afternoon. A complex of storms is expected to quickly organize, moving north-northeastward across northeastern South Dakota, far southeast North Dakota into western and northern Minnesota. Severe storms and tornadoes appear likely with this convective system from this afternoon into the early evening. Several factors are coming together for an outbreak of severe storm today across parts of the northern Plains and upper Mississippi Valley. The first is that the system will be particularly organized, as the upper-level low rapidly deepens and the trough takes on a negative tilt."

We will monitor today's risk closely as it will likely impact tomorrow's risk. Outflow from the intense thunderstorms may force our front farther south, which would push tomorrow's risk farther south than the SPC has it located right now, shown below:

Tuesday's Risk

The Kansas City time-line:

  • Today: Windy. South winds 20-40 mph with some higher gusts possible. A Wind Advisory is in effect. Dry all day with a few bands of high and mid-level clouds. High: 88°
  • Tonight: A chance of thunderstorms. A few may be severe this evening closer to sunset.
  • Tuesday: A chance of thunderstorms with the wind shifting to the north. High: 78°

I am going to get the dogs out for a walk, and then we will monitor the new data rolling in today. Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the weather blog and sharing in this weather experience.
Have a great holiday!