The unusually explosive development of the storms in a very moist environment on the evening of July 27, 2017, is dramatically apparent on the infrared satellite imagery shown below.
Dark blue represents colder, higher cloud tops, lighter blue somewhat less cold tops, green less cold (and high) tops, yellow warmer and lower tops still with orange reflecting lower cloud tops and deep red mainly the ground surface. Areas of white are extremely cold and high cloud tops reflecting the strongest storms and heaviest rainfall areas.
6:45 PM. Amorphous blob over the northeast Kansas/northwest Missouri area with tops in the middling -30 to -40C range. Much colder (dark blue) tops with some storms in Wichita area.
6:45 PM: Pretty decent rain over KC at this time, but only light to moderate with the darker blue hues. The first hint of the explosive development to come is seen with the two small dark blue dots over northeast Kansas, which are still well to our northwest.
7:45 PM: Explosive storm development in progress to the west-northwest of KC and Lawrence with a small white dot indicating a very high -75C top.
8:45 PM: Very cold (very high-altitude) cloud tops rapidly expanding and now over the entire northeast Kansas area including Lawrence and KC. Small white area near the KC International Airport indicates highest and coldest cloud top. Mechele’s 9 PM show starts in 15 minutes.
9:45 PM: Continued rapid development with more very cold -75C tops (white) as Mechele comes toward the end of her performance. The comma shaped white area is the first big storm that is about to slam the entirety of Kansas City a short time after Mechele’s show.
10:45 PM: Initial strong storm pushing slowly eastward across the city (white area) while the larger dark blue blob (merging thunderstorm tops) isn’t moving much but continues to expand.
11:45 PM: Coldest tops moving southward and eastward slowly but back-building storms continue to bring torrential rains across the entire Lawrence-KC region.
12:45 PM: Coldest tops continue slowly eastward but dark blue bulges on the west and southwest side of the blue blob indicate new ‘back-building’ storm development.
1:45 AM: The new development intensifies and moves in from eastern Kansas across the KC metro area (white areas).
2:45 AM: City getting pretty well pummeled now.
3:45 AM: The punishment continues, especially in central and south sections of the city. Large -75C (extremely high) cloud top over the entire metro area and extending to the south and east.
4:45 AM: Coldest tops pushing south and east, for the most part, but southern and some central sections of the city still in torrential rains.
5:45 AM: Storm continues to push south and east slowly. Some rain continues in the city. New attempted development on the west side of the blob south of Topeka (dark blue pointer).
6:45 AM: System starts to slowly weaken as it pushes south and east of the city. Some weak development continues south of Topeka.
7:45 PM: Its a slow-moving beast but the rains have mostly stopped. However the flooding is in full-tilt boogie mode. Weaker storms continue to percolate south of topeka and push slowly southward. Tops are beginning to cool with only a small white -75C top left.
Visual image at same time as previous image. Storm tops cover most of Missouri and the eastern portion of Kansas. Strong development with an ‘overshooting top’ in southwest Kansas, new Dodge City. Weaker storm development continues south of Topeka. Newer sunrise development over north-central Oklahoma. (Last image.)