Severe Weather Threat in KC on Thursday?

Brian E Erwin

There is a weather phenomenon that can happen what are called “cold core systems.” According to Fox 4 meteorologist Joe Lauria from his weather blog:

In an idealized world, these systems can help to bring more robust updrafts and convection. Because the freezing level is about two miles up in the atmosphere Thursday afternoon, it doesn’t take much vertical development of clouds to get rain drops to get thrust upwards into that colder air, where they can freeze up and create small hailstones. Sometimes these hailstones fall to the ground.

The other interesting thing, which is on the Missouri side of the metro, the atmosphere as a whole does have a tendency to want to "spin upwards in some situations.

According to Jon Davies, a severe weather researcher who lives in the area, has done a lot of research into these “cold core systems.” He created an idealized weather map for instances where you can get funnels and even brief, and typically weak, tornadoes.

Here is his idealized setup:
Cold Core StormsGraphic via Jon Davies

Here is what is very interesting. The storms that "could" develop don't have to be typical thunderstorms (or supercells). They don't have to be 50,000 feet or more into the atmosphere that we normally see here in this as a matter of fact, according to Joe they can be 20,000-footers, and yet if the atmosphere is set up correctly, you can get funnels and tornadoes from the smaller cousins of the bigger supercell storms that we typically track through the Plains.

Joe also says:

The good news is that in most cases, the tornadoes/funnels are short lived. However, there is research that shows, they can be more dramatic - according to some of the research.

Joe says that the odds are this setup is more favored for the Missouri side than the Kansas side if and when this comes together. It is something that weather forecasters will have to keep a close eye on and don't be fooled by mother nature.

The bigger concern right now is the heavy rainfall. Watch for updates regarding the heavy rainfall, and a classic severe weather event that looks like it will take place in the first part of next week. We are in a very active pattern right now, and there are no signs in the short term of this pattern breaking.

As you can see, there is a lot of rain forecast over the next few days. It would not be surprising if the NWS issued a Flash Flood watch to account for the expected rainfall.

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Gardner, KS

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