A Fizzled Storm Front – For the Most Part

Tuesday, September 26th:  The storm front that moved across the Lawrence area yesterday evening brought a couple of rounds of showers between 9 PM Monday evening and 7 AM Tuesday.  The last batch of showers around 6 AM brought some locally heavy rainfall to a rather narrow swath to the south through east of Lawrence.   Tuesday was then an overcast, cool and breezy day with temperatures hovering in the 60s.  This was a very significant change from the persistent warm and humid conditions of the previous week.

Rainfall at the Lawrence Airport up to 7 AM Tuesday was 0.44 inches.   The Lawrence seven-station city average came in a bit lower at 0.36 inches.  Amounts at the 7 rainfall sites across town ranged from 0.26 inches in southwest Lawrence to 0.45 inches at a north-central Lawrence site.  A final surge of light rain and drizzle fell for a time in the mid morning, wetting the streets and reducing the visibility, but only dropping another 0.03 inches.  This brought the storm total at the Lawrence Airport to 0.47 inches.


The 9:45 AM Tuesday satellite image this morning shows the storm front that crossed the local area Monday evening pushing on across western Missouri.  Overcast conditions and some lingering light rain showers prevailed across Kansas.   Hurricane Maria was shearing apart off the mid Atlantic coast.



The upper low or core of the upper trough is now pushing across North Dakota, with a moist southwest flow over the local area.  A ‘short-wave’ from the north is pushing into the Great Basin and a trough is lingering over western Arizona.  It appears the short-wave will reinforce the trough over Arizona and perhaps create a ‘cut-off’ low in that area, perhaps resulting in a rex block pattern over the intermountain west.  This could provide us another extended period of generally fair, but pleasant conditions that are neither too warm or too cool – not an unusual occurrence this time of the year.


At the Jet Stream level this morning, the core of a fairly strong southwest jet stream is just to our west and north.   A weak upper low is evident at this level centered just west of Florida with an anticyclone over the Mid Atlantic coast associated with outflow from Hurricane Maria.


Douglas County rainfall from the CoCoRaHS Network to about 7 AM Tuesday, including the Lawrence-7 sites which averaged 0.36 inches for the city as a whole.  The batch of showers that passed by around 6 this morning brought 24-hour totals up to around one inch in parts of southeast Douglas County.  Rainfall sites northeast of Lawrence came in close to the 0.44 inches measured at the Airport up to 7 AM.


Topeka Radar Precipitation estimates for the system up to 6:17 PM Tuesday, with actual airport storm totals to 7:00 PM Tuesday superimposed.  Note the dark blue swath southeast of Lawrence.  In this area, two CoCoRaHS sites in southeast Douglas County measured about an inch of rainfall, per the previous map above.  Outside of showery swaths here and there, amounts generally decrease from west to east as the frontal band weakened through eastern Kansas.

Elsewhere in Kansas, storm totals were quite impressive in the west.   The highest reported amount in the state from the local airport sites was Medicine Lodge, where 4.18 inches was measured.  Garden City came in second place with 3.46 inches.  Goodland came in third with 3.06 inches.  Pratt came in with 2.3 inches, Hayes with 1.81 inches and Dodge City 1.41 inches.


Radar estimated storm totals out of Dodge City NWS Radar.  The 4.11 inches measured at Medicine Lodge compares very closely with the radar estimate.  So, one can probably assume that the other red swaths represent similar 4-inch plus amounts.  Wow.  Not bad for western Kansas for any time of the year.    The waterfowl areas east and southeast of Great Bend got doused real good.  The ducks must be loving it!  The farmers out by Scott City are probably saying enough is enough.  The ranchers around Ulysses are probably happy.


Our neighbors to the north in Nebraska, southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri didn’t do too bad either, for the most part.  Lots of 1 to 2 inch amounts with some 2.5 inch to 3 inch plus swaths here and there.


Radar totals to 6:10 PM Tuesday down Wichita way.  Wichita was on the eastern side of a heavy swath of rainfall, with more on the west side of town and less on the east. To the west of that swath there was a swath of minimal rainfall before one encounters the very heavy rainfall swath around Medicine Lodge.


Last and least, the NWS Kansas City Radar precipitation estimate.   This chart has a nice depiction of the heavier swaths of rainfall west to north of Topeka to St Joseph and the little swath just to the south and east of Lawrence that brought totals of around an inch.  Generally not much precipitation fell from the system southeast of a line running from about Chillicothe to the radar site at Pleasant Hill.


At 3:45 PM Tuesday, the front has pushed across about the northwest half of Missouri with overcast skies and cool conditions continuing across Kansas.  A new cut-off low forming over Arizona is bringing some upper support for showers across eastern New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma.  Maria continues to rotate and shear apart and is now centered well off the outer banks of North Carolina. 


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