Weather Blog: Some risks of severe thunderstorms

Severe Weather Risk Thursday
Posted at 7:50 AM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 09:52:23-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Good morning bloggers,

There are risks of severe thunderstorms in the forecast for the next four days. The risks are level 2 out of 5 each day at the moment around Kansas and each day is a bit different, beginning with today. Today, Kansas City has a level 1 out of 5 risk of severe weather as this weak system tracks across Kansas:

Surface Map 7:33 AM

This map above shows the surface conditions as of 7:33 a.m. There is a rather well-defined surface low this morning with a not so well defined warm front and cold front. This is why I did the broken red and blue lines. By the end of the day, this will even be weaker. There will be a weak wind shift line, or cold front, near Kansas City by 5 p.m. and we will monitor closely for any thunderstorm development.

Here is today's risk:

Severe Weather Risk Today

From the Storm Prediction Center: "The greatest severe-weather threat for today and this evening appears to be over portions of central/eastern Oklahoma into the western Ozarks region, where up to a few supercells with hail, isolated severe gusts and a tornado are possible".

Kansas City, and our viewing area, is at a weak level 1 out of 5 risk, the dark green shade. We will monitor closely to see if any thunderstorms form this afternoon or evening. The better chance is in that level 2 out of 5 region.

The risk then increases a bit Thursday as you can see here:

Severe Weather Risk Thursday

Thursday's risk from the SPC:

"A dryline may sharpen across the higher terrain of southwest Texas through the Texas South Plains and Panhandle vicinity by late Thursday afternoon. This may provide a focus for at least attempts at thunderstorm initiation, as moderately large CAPE develops in the presence of steep lower/mid tropospheric lapse rates. However, with the dryline likely to be in the process of retreating by early evening, if not earlier, sustained vigorous thunderstorm development still seems unlikely.

Enhanced low-level convergence near the dryline and warm frontal intersection across parts of northwestern Oklahoma into adjacent southern Kansas seems to provide the best focus for isolated severe storm development, particularly early Thursday evening as a southerly low-level jet begins to strengthen from 30-50+ kt. Although mid/upper flow will be modest in strength, veering of winds with height probably will contribute to sufficient shear for supercells. These may pose a risk for producing large hail and perhaps a couple of tornadoes, before severe hail becomes the more prominent risk as storms tend to spread north of the warm front, along the low-level jet axis, toward the lower Missouri Valley vicinity later Thursday evening.

Preceding this activity, storms driven by forcing associated with lower/mid tropospheric warm advection, spreading across central/eastern Kansas into the lower Missouri Valley earlier in the day, may also pose at least some risk for severe hail."

Kansas City is in this day-two risk, and as you can see from the SPC discussion, our risk is definitely lower than areas closer to Wichita. Even that risk is a level 2 out of 5 risk. A warm front will be lifting north and this will likely be the focus for thunderstorms Thursday night that may impact our area.

The risk then increases a bit way out west where storm chasers will likely be heading on Friday:

Severe Weather Risk Friday

In Kansas City on Friday, we will have a nice warm and humid day with south winds increasing. Temperatures may reach the lower 80s. The chance of rain will likely go down to zero on Friday.

7 p.m. Friday surface forecast:


This map above shows a strong surface cyclone forming near Denver. This has a central pressure of 984 millibars. This is equivalent to 29.05 inches of pressure. Pressure is measured in millibars or inches of mercury. Pressure is a measure of the weight of the atmosphere above us. The inches of mercury to millibar conversion is 29.92 inches to 1013.25 millibars. That is considered the average surface pressure corrected to sea level around the world. When the pressure is below 29.92 inches, it is considered low pressure, and when it is higher than 1013.25 millibars it is considered high pressure. This is a very strong low-pressure area.

The pressure gradient will become strong with high winds over the Western Plains and somewhat higher winds here in Kansas City, but we are on the eastern edge of these higher winds. The blue shade shows around 30 knots or 35-mile-per-hour winds. Over Western Kansas, the winds will be gusting to 50 or maybe 60 miles per hour Friday.

If you watched our spring weather special last month, then you will remember this is the predicted time frame for this storm to arrive. But, it doesn't mean Kansas City will be hit by major thunderstorms. We still have to see how each day sets up. The most likely spot will be west of here, and then Saturday evening as it moves across we will have our best chance of severe thunderstorms in Kansas City.

By Saturday, the day four risk from the SPC shows a risk closer to our region as a stronger front moves in.

Severe Weather Risk Saturday

  • Forecast for today: Mostly cloudy with a few showers and possibly afternoon or evening thunderstorms. There are a few showers around Kansas City this morning. High: 63 degrees
  • Thursday: A 20% chance of morning showers or thunderstorms and a 30% chance of evening showers or thunderstorms. High: 70 degrees
  • Friday: Warmer and windy. South winds 20-30 miles per hour with gusts to 40 miles per hour. High: 82 degrees

Tomorrow is School Day at The K. Our weather team will be out at Kauffman Stadium with the scientists from Science City and we will conduct experiments and meet the kids. There may be some interesting clouds to describe while we are out there. The show begins at 10 a.m., and then we will have a meet and greet with the kids in Lot J afterward. And, then Wes Peery, Jeff Penner and I will be throwing out the first pitch at 1 p.m. Will there be thunderstorms Thursday? There better not be. That warm front will be approaching. The best chance of thunderstorms is Thursday night. We will be keeping our eyes on the sky!

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the weather blog and sharing this weather experience.