Wednesday, July 27, 2016

History in the tropics - stormy changes for Kansas

It's the longest drought of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico since records began back in the 1800s. There hasn't been a single hurricane develop or move into the Gulf since Hurricane Ingrid back in September of 2013. That means we are well over 1000 days and still counting as there are no hurricanes forecast for the area in the foreseeable future.

Storms on the way to Kansas:
The weather pattern shifted this week, and that allowed us to slip out of the 100s and get away from the excessive heat for awhile. The giant heat bubble this week is over the West where major wildfires are still burning.

Scattered storms should develop across western and northern Kansas into Wednesday evening and night. It's not clear how far south the storms will go before falling apart, but the best chances for rain are shaded in yellow.

The best chance for rain and thunder will come Thursday evening/night across the state. We don't expect a big outbreak of severe weather, but some gusty winds and heavy rainfall are expected. Rainfall amounts are hard to forecast the next few days because of the scattered nature of the rain, but some places could end up with about an inch of moisture.

Highs in the 80s -sound good? That's what's on the way for Friday. It actually looks pretty nice with mostly cloudy skies helping to keep the temperatures down for the end of the week. It will get hotter though and we could see another mini heat wave developing over the weekend into the start of next week. Highs will be approaching 100 for several days beginning on Sunday.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Stormy in the Pacific; storms in Kansas too

Hurricane season is here and it's been quite active in the Pacific. Pacific storms don't seem to get much attention because they move away from the mainland of the US. So you don't normally see much national media attention. But Tropical Storm Darby passed near the Hawaiian islands over the weekend and there are two more storms that are moving through the Pacific. Hurricane Georgette is a major hurricane now with winds of 130 mph and Frank, a strong tropical storm.

We don't have any areas of development in the Atlantic right now, but it is still very early in the season. Hurricane season in the Atlantic doesn't peak until the first part of September. 

Just about everyone I ran into last week or over the weekend had the same request: cooler weather please. Even the summer lovers seem to agree that anything over 100 is excessive. We won't likely have very many (maybe not ANY) 100s this week. Now the heat index may go above 100 a couple of times, but the air temperatures should be lower. Part of what is going on this week is our large high pressure system has moved back west. We also have a front that will meander over Kansas, helping create some off and on storm chances. So those two factors alone should allow us to stay out of the 100s. I hesitate to show you how much rain could fall, because most of what we will see this week will be scattered. Predicting how much rain and where will be really difficult. 

Have we seen the last of the 100s for the summer? I don't think we have based on the long range trends. Some computer models bring the high pressure system back over the Plains during the 3rd full week of August, which may lead to another mini heat wave. But then again, we still have quite a bit of summer left. This image below is for next week, still showing the center of the high pressure off to the southwest, but it could be close enough to allow our temperatures to warm up to near 100.

Weather pattern next week showing the high pressure "heat dome" just off to the west of Kansas

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Is 2016 that hot and what's coming next week

As the heat wave continues, I think we should be clear about something after NASA released some new information yesterday. The recent heat wave is not directly connected to the topic of climate change or this release of 14 consecutive months of above normal temperatures. That's a global temperature, not a reflection of what is happening locally. In fact, I did some calculating yesterday to see how things stack up for at least one spot in our state. So I looked at Wichita numbers and found that the first 6 months of 2012 were actually hotter than what we've had so far this year. 

There is a very big different between climate and weather. 

Climate - a collection of weather over a VERY long time
Weather - the conditions that are happening now

I think it's important to keep those distinctions in your head because they can be mixed around and confusing. We just have to keep some things in perspective when reading and listening to future predictions on major weather events.  

Ring of Fire:  Kansas is caught in the middle of the "ring of fire" this week. Because of the big high pressure "heat dome", thunderstorms are rotating around us. The wind blows clockwise and storms are carried across the Rockies and into the northern Plains. Other storms east of us move to the south.

NEXT WEEK: Not as hot!!
It's looking like next week will not be as hot. The big dome of high pressure is going to setup farther west and that should help to keep us out of the 100s. This will also raise the possibility of scattered storms for our area. We are right at the hottest part of the year. The normal high is 93, but by July 31st and into August, the average begins dropping. Long range trends seem to point toward more thunderstorm chances and less intense heat heading into August. I'll have a more detailed outlook coming very soon. 

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