Wednesday, September 2, 2015

More heat - changes in the Labor Day forecast

The weather pattern this week is stuck in summer gear and won't be changing much through Saturday. The winds aloft are very light over Kansas and the hot, humid weather is stuck in place. Eventually, the storm that is tracking through the Pacific Northwest will move east, but that's not going to happen until Saturday. 

Until it starts to move, the best chance for isolated showers/storms will be focused over far western Kansas and eastern Colorado. Any rain that does develop will be extremely isolated. 

There is a change to the Labor Day forecast. The front that we've been forecasting to move in on Monday is going to arrive a little slower and it could become stationary Monday evening. It still looks like much of Kansas will have a chance to see some rain and storms, but the temperatures look to stay quite warm. I would expect highs to be around 90, and may not cool off much until mid to late next week.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Lack of 100s this month & calm before Labor Day storm

Debbie Cobb - Burrton - dense fog early Monday
The month of August is ending on a rather warm note, but we have been pretty fortunate this month to stay out of the 100s. On average, we can usually see a half dozen days with temperatures getting above the century mark, but summer rains helped to keep temperatures a little cooler. Dodge City did end up with one day hitting 100, but zero for Goodland, Salina, and Wichita. The last time Wichita didn't have a 100 degree day in August was back in 2009. Salina hasn't had an August without a 100 degree temperatures since 1997 (18 years!!)

The weather in Kansas this week looks pretty quiet. The upper level winds are going to be very light through Friday. Most of the active weather will be taking place in the Pacific Northwest. Occasional rain and a few storms will show up in eastern Colorado, which could drift into northwest Kansas during the late evening hours. None of the storms should be severe and will likely fall apart during the overnight hours. 

Hurricane Ignacio is packing winds between 115-120 mph as it passes by Hawaii to the northeast. It's forecast to weaken very soon, but is part of a series of hurricanes churning through the Pacific. Meanwhile, the Atlantic storms have failed to maintain hurricane strength for more than a day. But there is still plenty of season left. 

If you are looking ahead to the Labor Day weekend holiday, that's when Kansas weather starts to get more interesting. A storm system passing through the northern Plains will drive a cold front down into Kansas Sunday night/Monday, bringing us our best chance for rain in the next 8-10 days. Temperatures will also cool rather significantly with highs falling back into the 70s. So as you plan ahead, be ready for some rain and fall-like weather by the start of next week. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Historic fires cover the west -relief could be coming

picture taken from the front range of the Rockies
This has just been a very difficult fire season across the west with some of the largest fires burning in Washington. Smoke plumes continue to spread over a large swath of the US and the haze in the air has delayed flights as far away as Denver. Fires so large that the smoke plumes are visible from space. The plumes look like clouds on the satellite images, but we know it's smoke because they originate from the same location. 

The weather pattern this week favors the spread of smoke south and east across the northern Plains and into the central US. High pressure centered over southern Colorado allows the upper level winds to carry the smoke east and then south (winds blow clockwise around the high) The smoke does thin out some as it travels farther away, but there's just enough of it in the air to create some very red sunsets as seen in the picture above.
courtesy Jan Blair
Just look at how poor the air quality is in the before and after picture from Lewiston, ID. 

The forecast looks favorable for some rain into the weekend. A storm system developing over the Pacific Ocean and pushing east will bring some heavier rain to the coastal areas of Washington and Oregon. Hopefully there won't be more dry lightning strikes to start more fires. 

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