Another Round of Heavy Rain on Monday

Posted Monday, September 18th (with sunset photos on the 17th):  Monday brought another round of heavy rain to the Lawrence area, mainly between 10 and 11 AM.

The day started mostly cloudy, but with some rays of sunshine peering though the clouds from time to time. Then, around 9:30 AM, it got very dark, as if the sun were setting or there was an eclipse.  And yet there was no rain.  Then shortly before 10 AM, some drops of rain started in and continued about 10 minutes  without really wetting the streets.  Then, at about 10:10 AM, the rain quickly increased before the heavens let loose with torrents of rainfall, soon followed by flashes of lightning overhead and a few loud rolls of thunder.  The very heavy storm lasted about a half hour.

Between 10:08 and 10:28 AM, I recorded 60 hundredths on my recording rain gauge at home (0.60 inches in 20 minutes).  This figure rose to 71 hundredths by 10:38 AM (0.71 inches in a half hour).  This was followed by a lightening sky and a period light rain punctuated with some lulls and also brief periods of moderate rain.  The rain was over by noon.

My rain bucket at home in southwest Lawrence recorded 0.80 inches.   My automated gauge had a total of 0.79 inches, very close to the manual reading.   During the heavy storm I was in the downtown area and southeast Lawrence where it felt very intense, with very heavy rain that was flooding the streets and requiring slow and careful driving.  The Lawrence Airport, northeast of town, came in with 36 hundredths and the Topeka area received around 15 hundredths.  Examination of radar images would seem to confirm this, as the heaviest precipitation skirted around the airport area and missed Topeka entirely, while an area of very heavy rain came across most of Lawrence and areas just to the south and east of town.  Rainfall reports across town will have to wait until tomorrow evening, as the reports come in around 7 AM and I will not be home until late in the day.


Satellite image at 10:15 AM CDT showing the layered clouds and high cloud tops associated with the storm that crossed Lawrence starting at about this time. Some rain is also pushing across the Pacific Northwest.  This should end or greatly reduce the wildfires in that region.  Minimal Hurricane Jose continues to churn northward but is shearing apart as it moves across a subtropical jet stream, exposing the lower-level circulation on the south and east side as the higher clouds get stripped away.  TS Norma is off the south tip of Baja California, moving slowly westward.


NWS Kansas City Radar Precipitation Estimate from the event.  Heavier amounts are indicated in the green swath on the east, south and southwest sides of town with a tiny green swath northwest of town, while distinctly less (medium blue) is indicated  just north of I-70.


9:15 AM Regional Image – about one hour before the storm moved in.  The developing billowing tops can be seen over east central Kansas.


10:15 AM – The storm has just moved over Lawrence.  It has grown considerably in the hour since the previous image.  Dense clouds and distinctly high tops are apparent, casting a shadow along the west edge – no wonder it got so dark.


11:15 AM – The heavy rain is now east of Lawrence but lighter rain behind the main storm is still moving across the area.  The storm seems to be splitting into diverging pieces with a new, strong cell south of Kansas City developing as it moves into Missouri.


Monday morning’s 250 MB showing the jet stream.  A trough over eastern Colorado pushed rapidly eastward and brought our late morning rain to the local area.  A strong trough is pushing into the Pacific Northwest, bringing the first widespread rain of the fall season to that region.


KC NWS Radar Image at 10:09 AM.  The heavy rain is just beginning to push in across Lawrence from the southwest.


10:18 AM – The storm continues its push across the Lawrence area.


At 10:27 AM, the storm covers all of Lawrence, with heavier rainfall concentrated southeast of town.  Lighter, but still heavy rain (yellow area), is pushing across the airport area.


The last of the heavy rain is moving across town.  Heavier rainfall just north and east through southeast of town.  The airport remains in the yellow area in between, in an area of decent but less heavy rainfall.  This would seem to confirm the lower amount reported at the airport as being real and not an artifact of a malfunctioning gauge.  Rainfall can be fickle after all, even across short distances.


I will end with a few images of the sunset at Clinton Lake Sunday evening, September 17th – a sublime scene.  Here, at 7:02 PM, the sun is shining though layers of high clouds and about to sink behind a lower cloud bank to the west.


At 7:09 PM, the sun has set behind the bank of lower clouds, with the higher layers now in contrasting stages of illumination.


7:27 PM.  It might be time to get a kayak soon.



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