Weather Blog: Wednesday, Thursday thunderstorm chances in Kansas City

Posted at 1:28 PM, Apr 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-18 15:47:07-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Good Tuesday bloggers,

We are going to have some great weather today followed by a rather active rest of the week.

A storm system now tracking into the western USA will emerge into the Plains Wednesday and exit the Midwest over the weekend.

As of noon today the system was entering the Pacific Northwest. The storm from the last weekend is entering New England.


Thursday the storm system will be rather large and in the northern Plains as you can see below on the upper level flow, "the graphical version of the satellite." We are on the southeast side of the storm which is the best location to see thunderstorms. Some of the thunderstorms could be severe.


Sunday the storm system will be in the Great Lakes. This puts our upper level flow from the north with connections to northern Canada. Yes, this means we are in for a cold weekend with the chance for a light freeze. Especially Sunday morning.


Now, let's get to the chances of thunderstorms. When is the best chance? Will we see severe weather? How much rain will fall on your yard or farm?

Below is a 40 second video of our Powercast. There is no audio. You can see the best chance for the thunderstorm periods is between 8 PM Wednesday night to 8 AM Thursday. The timing of the thunderstorms being at night and morning also reduce the severe threat as this is usually the coolest time of the possible 24 hours. If they come in before 10 PM, then they could be severe as the sun does not set until 8 PM.

Also, notice the low clouds tomorrow. If the low clouds remain thick most of the day, then they will keep our highs down to around 70. This would limit the severity of any thunderstorms, but not limit the amount of rain they will produce. If the low clouds break up faster and our highs climb to 75-80, then we will see a better severe weather chance along the approaching cold front.

Let's tackle the chance of severe weather first. The best chance for severe weather Wednesday is to our west as that is where the cold front will be located which is the main trigger for thunderstorms. Also, it will be warmer in central Kansas where the low clouds are sure to clear.

You can see the the threats for Wednesday and Thursday are mostly west and east of our area. This has happened for our last two severe weather threats. We still have to watch this closely as a little slower or faster on the front, or less low clouds and we warm up more, then all of a sudden we have an increased severe weather threat.


Here is a closer look at the Wednesday severe weather threat.


The Thursday threat is well east as this is where the cold front will be located. Right now the level 2 of 5 is not up to St. Louis and into Illinois as the system weakens to the east. But, this has to be watched as well.


If we did get severe weather, damaging wind and quarter sized hail are the main threats. The tornado threat is never zero, but it is not that high.

The rainfall forecast is a different animal than the severe weather forecast. These thunderstorms will be very heavy rain producers whether the low clouds are thick all day or not. If they form to our west they would move in to our area with little severe threat, while still maintaining an heavy rain threat.

Right now it looks there will be around two zones where rainfall amounts could reach 1"-2" with some small areas of 2"-4" of rain. This data has the heaviest rain along and south of I-70 and northeast Kansas into northwest Missouri. This is solely dependent on where the thunderstorms set up and how extensive they are once they arrive. This assumes they form out west and ride in Wednesday night.

If you are in a 1"-4" rainfall amount zone then flash flooding becomes a problem. Did you know flash flooding kills more people per year than tornadoes and lightning combined? This is because 6" of flowing water can float away an SUV.

If you see flowing water and you can avoid being a statistic..."Turn Around Don't Drown."


Now, there are many locations that could use rain as the last two or three rainfall events have brought decent rain to only a few locations.

These are estimated rainfall totals from the last 30 days. Amounts for most locations have ranged between 1.50" and 2.50". This is not too bad, but as each week goes by during the Spring, we need more rain as the drying conditions increase.


Below is a map of what the rainfall amounts mean as compared to average. There are no locations at 100% of average, but there are many locations hovering around 50%. So, a nice drink of water on the yards and farms would be nice.


So here is the summary.


Have a great week and stay healthy.