Encore Storm Recap

Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 11:01am CDT

This was the third of a series of three major, copious rain-producing thunderstorm complexes to develop in the local area in about a two week period. The series started with the ‘Monster Storm’ of July 22-23rd that developed south of Lawrence, clipping the city and then developed into a heavy rain and damaging downburst wind event in Kansas City.  The second event was the more widespread ‘Performance Storm’ of July 27-28 (dubbed as such because they started in Kansas City during my wife Mechele’s performance at the Fringe Festival).   Then last night (Saturday night, August 5-6) we had what I shall dub the ‘Encore Storm,’ as that storm system was somewhat similar in type, magnitude and effected area to the ‘Performance Storm’ of late July.

When all was said and done..

The end result with this latest storm event was another big hit for Kansas City (the hits just keep on coming!) and another brush-by for Lawrence – where, it appears, we are still safe!  One can only imagine the accumulated damage to many properties across much of the Kansas City metro at this point.  It is good to be in Lawrence where, while maybe ‘a river runs through it’ at times, the ‘river’ is confined mainly to the streets and gutters. There was much less rainfall and water run-off in Lawrence compared to the Kansas City area in each of these three major storm events over the last 15 days. However, different areas within a few to several miles of Lawrence saw much more precipitation than fell within the city limits in each of these three events.


2.32 inches is what I reported to the CoCoRaHS Network – similar to other reports in town. The automated ‘official climate site’ at the Lawrence Airport malfunctioned again, measuring no precipitation for this storm event – the heaviest of these three recent major storm events in the Lawrence-KC area.  Based on the two circled CoCoRaHS Network amounts located nearby on either side of the airport, a good estimate for the Lawrence Airport site might be an average of the two, say 3.01 inches.  However, due to the equipment outage, the National Weather Service (NWS) in Topeka disseminated ‘missing’ on their temperature and precipitation products.  Therefore, Lawrence’s ‘official rainfall’ for the month of August will now come in at least 2 1/2 to 3 inches too low since the agency ignores missing data on their ‘climate products.’ Rather, the NWS treats ‘missing’ rainfall at their ‘official climate stations’ (due to all-too-common equipment malfunctions) as if the precipitation never happened.


Amounts of 4 to 5 inches in northern Johnson County. That area of the KC Metro has been hit very hard in all three of the major storm events over the last two weeks.


On the Missouri side, I filled in with automated airport amounts at MCI (KCI Airport) and MKC (the downtown KC Airport) and also some Weather Underground personal weather stations.  At least some of these personal weather stations that upload in real time to the internet, like mine for example, are surprisingly accurate in measuring rainfall and rainfall rates for such low-cost instruments.  The greatest reported CoCoRaHS network amount seen in the KC metro is 4.83 inches on the southeast side in Jackson County.  However, a couple of personal weather station sites (as seen on Weather Underground) in the core of the city reported close to 6 inches, one on the Kansas side in Mission (6.12) and one near Brush Creek in the vicinity of Kauffman Legacy Park on the Missouri side (5.92).


Topeka Radar Precipitation Estimates (from the NWS Topeka Radar). Radar estimated amounts for Lawrence come in around two inches, with the 2-inch to 2.5 inch zone (darkest green) pushing across northeast Lawrence, including the Lawrence Airport.  South and west sections of Lawrence are in the radar depicted 1.5 to 2 inch zone.   Bonner Springs, KS, on the north edge of a narrow 3.5 to 4-inch radar depicted swath, reported 4.3 inches from an NWS cooperative observer.  Lenexa and Overland Park came in with NWS cooperative observer reports of 3.4 and 3.5 inches respectively.  Note also the ‘donut hole’ area of minimal rainfall  30 to 50 miles southwest to west of Lawrence with radar estimates of between 0.1 to 0.5 inches. While the CoCoRaHS Network coverage in the area is rather sparse, the lowest amounts were some reports of a around a half inch.


Kansas City (NWS Pleasant Hill) radar precipitation estimate.  The white area west of Osage Beach corresponds with two CoCoRaHS reports of more than 8 inches in northern Camden County, next to the Lake of the Ozarks. Again the two-inch line bisects Lawrence – similar to the Topeka Radar and not a bad depiction.  Much of northern Missouri, including as close as St Joseph, missed out almost entirely on this event.  The St Joseph Airport, located just north of the swath of heavy rainfall that hit the Lawrence to KC area, reported 0.23 inches.  Chillicothe reported 0.05 inches.




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