Strong Upper Trough Out West Brings Warmth and Higher Humidity

Tuesday, October 3rd, 11PM:  A strong, reinforced and rotating upper trough of low pressure that is quasi-stationary out west brought mild and increasingly humid and warm conditions during the first three days of the new month.  This impressive trough has generally been a tease so far as it produced snow in the northern and central Rockies and strong thunderstorms in Nebraska and northwest Kansas.  This included a severe thunderstorm Monday evening in northwest Kansas that brought a wide swath of 2.5 inches to over 5 inches of rain and brief tornado touchdowns around Oakley, Gove City, Quinter and Hill City.

Sunday, October 1st:  Max 78; Min 60; Average Dew Point 53.


Sunday, October 1st:  Setting sun behind some dense cirrus with clear skies beyond at the Mound Overlook near the Clinton Lake Dam.


The setting sun illuminates some protruding dense cirrus from below Sunday evening on the Clinton Lake Trail.



5:45 PM Sunday – Thick cirrus band over eastern Kansas, back edge of which approached Lawrence at sunset, per above photos.   Strong thunderstorms western Nebraska into northwest Kansas.


500MB Sunday evening, October 1st.


250 MB Sunday evening, October 1st.  What a jet pushing in.

Monday, October 2nd:  Max 86; Min 61; Average dew point 63.


500 MB, Monday evening, October 2nd.


250 MB Tuesday evening, October 2nd.



5:15 PM Monday, October 2nd.


5:15 PM Monday, Oct 2nd, Regional, showing strong jet streak western Nebraska and start of explosive thunderstorm development west-central Kansas.  Within the next three hours, this storm would go on to drop up to 5 inches of rain and three tornado touchdowns.


Monday, October 2nd, 6:32 PM.  Jet stream cirrus casts shadow on lower clouds western Nebraska.  A large and severe thunderstorm is moving rapidly northeastward in western Kansas.  This storm produced three brief tornado touchdowns in Gove County, KS.  The first two brief touchdowns (EF0 and EF1) caused some damage to farm structures and trees about 10 miles south and 5 miles east of Gove City, the county seat.  A third, EF1 tornado, briefly touched down in the town of Quinter, causing some structure and tree damage.  Quinter is along I-70 to the northeast of Gove City, or about 55 miles west of Hayes and 37 miles east of Oakley – or about 280 miles west of Lawrence.  This storm also produced fairly widespread 2 to 5-inch precipitation amounts. 


Goodland Radar at about the time of the 1st tornado touchdown, 10 miles SSW of Gove City, KS.  This is a tornado signature, with a ‘bounded weak echo region’ or ‘BWER’ (yellow area) bordered by intense reflectivity (very dark red) clearly seen.  The tornado (or strong rotation aloft within the storm at least) is near the border of this strong discontinuity (yellow to dark red border) in the radar reflectivity.


At about the site of the 2nd reported touchdown, 5 miles ESE of Gove City.  There could have been numerous small tornados in the vicinity that went unreported due to being obscured in heavy rainfall and/or causing no reported damage in open areas.  Again we see a BWER (yellow/green) adjacent intense reflectivity (very dark red), the strongest discontinuity in reflectivity being where the tornado likely resides. 


At about the time of the touchdown in Quinter, KS.  Here, a small, narrow area of yellow on I-70 (BWER) borders intense reflectivity just to the west and north (tornado zone).  The most likely location of the tornado is where the north end of the little yellow area hits the dark red area.  There could be several other small tornados in this storm as numerous extreme discontinuities in radar reflectivity and notches on the edge of the storm are common, which is typical of storms with tornado potential.  Another possible tornado is seen in the storm near the Nebraska line in the county northeast of the Goodland radar site.


Can’t say it didn’t rain yet in Kansas, either.  The tornado-producing storm dropped tremendous precipitation as well.  Here is Gove county and Quinter where the tornados struck.


Logan County, to the west of Gove County, was hit hard around Oakley, Kansas.


In parts of Graham County, to the northeast of Gove County, the storm continued to drop prodigious precipitation. The highest amount measured in the CoCoRaHS Network was 5.34 inches.  The 5.03 inches is in Sheridan County, at a site 8 miles north of Quinter.   They certainly had some storm excitement in northwest Kansas on the evening of October 2nd!


Tuesday, October 3rd:  Max 86; Min 71; Average dew point 68.


500 MB Tuesday evening, October 3rd.


250 MB Tuesday evening, October 3rd.


Surface Pattern, Tuesday, October 3rd, 9 PM.


Tuesday evening, October 3rd, 5:45 PM.  Weak surface front nears Lawrence with a few buildups and storms attempting to build.  Low centers western Nevada and western North Dakota seen on this imagery.  Moisture surge from Mexico brings storms well ahead of front from east Texas to Arkansas to parts of Missouri.  Moisture converges along frontal band as well from west Texas across central Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin.


Towering cumulous northwest of Clinton Lake Tuesday evening could never muster storm status.


Came pretty close, though.


The perches out on the lake were pretty busy again.


And a nearly full moon rose in the east.


There was a pinkish hue on the water for awhile.


A Turkey Vulture and Mr. Moon


And an ill-defined color glowed on the water for quite awhile after sunset.




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