A Small Storm Saturday, Then a Worthwhile Sunset

Saturday, Sept 17th:  The first measurable rainfall of the month fell in the Lawrence area Saturday.  It started with a few light showers before 7 AM.  Then a line of thunderstorms developed and moved in between 3 and 4 PM.  While offering some drama and prominent bolts of lightning in the afternoon, rainfall only amounted to a tenth of an inch or so across town when all was said and done, and a mere 0.03 inches as measured at the Lawrence Airport.  However, at this point, we would take what we could get!  This event was followed by an interesting sunset out at Clinton Lake as the sun peered in between the back end of the line of storms to our east and in front of new development just getting started to our west.  This new development to our west would bring significant thunderstorms and heavy rainfall overnight.  Analysis of that event, however, will have to await my next post later today.

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The sun descends toward the horizon at Clinton Lake Saturday evening following a line of storms that moved across between 3 and 4 in the afternoon and in advance of much stronger storm development to our west that would develop and move in overnight.

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Upper Air Chart (500 MB) at 7 AM Saturday, showing a succession of waves pushing across the area in the southwest flow aloft, ahead of a significant upper trough of low pressure to our west.  This is bringing up some subtropical moisture from off the coast of Mexico south of Baja up our way.  The ‘short wave’ shown over Colorado at this time (upper level disturbance embedded in the southwest flow aloft) acted on the increasing moisture, bringing our storms Saturday afternoon and dropping about a tenth of an inch of rain.

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Just before 3 PM Saturday, a thin line of storms approaches Lawrence.

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At 3:15 PM lightning is visible with a narrow but somewhat dramatic storm approaching.

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At 3:30 PM brief moderate rain moves across the city accompanied by occasional cloud to ground lightning.  Heaver storms along the line both to our north, moving into the northland of KC and and to our south over southeast Kansas.

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3:45 PM – The main show is over with just some light rain across Lawrence.

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3:57 PM – The rain is ending over Lawrence.  In our region, Kansas City International Airport received the most precipitation with this line of storms with a third of an inch.  Looking out west on this image, there are hints of new storm development around Salina – a prelude to our much more significant event to come overnight.

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Satellite image at 6:15 PM shows the storms that moved through Saturday afternoon now over Missouri and southeast Kansas and new development starting to the west across central Kansas.  The sun peered in between these old storms to our east and the new development to the west at sunset, as seen in the images that follow.

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The sun starts to set underneath and behind distant clouds just above the western horizon at Clinton Lake Saturday evening.

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A nice one..

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After the sun set, the clouds got all lit up underneath.

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A wider view.

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And the show goes on.. note the new towering cumulous development in the distance just above the horizon (left).

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A nice cloud glow across the water marks the end of the sunset show.

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