Saturday, October 7th: Though it was not much to write home about for the Lawrence area, the long anticipated storm system that was stuck out west for days exited stage right and barreled across eastern Kansas overnight Friday into Saturday. Although the storms ahead of the front weakened rapidly as they approached Friday night, the front itself managed a revival of sorts as it moved across the Lawrence area between 5 and 6 AM Saturday.
The accelerating but weakening upper trough caused the powerful storms that developed across central Kansas Friday on evening to decrease and split apart as they pushed eastward overnight. Of course, atmospheric destabilization from solar heating was also gone by the overnight hours.
Nevertheless, thundershowers ahead of the front made it into the Lawrence area around 11:30 PM Friday, lasting until about 2 AM Saturday, with the rain falling in two main bands. These two primary surges of ‘thunder rain’ during this period dropped 0.46 inches at the Lawrence Airport and 0.61 inches at my home weather station in southwest Lawrence. (The totals from my home weather station and manual rain gauges agreed almost exactly with this system.)
Following the system, some morning instability clouds and cool, west winds gave way to sunny skies and quite mild temperatures in the afternoon. The afternoon high managed to reach 76 degrees at the Lawrence Airport (78 at my home weather station) with the dew point down into the comfortable lower 50s. By sunset, which is shortly before 7 PM these days, the temperature had dropped off to 70 and the dew point was back up in the low 60s, as the ground and vegetation apparently exhaled the recently fallen rainfall.
The 24 hour precipitation total at the Lawrence Airport (up to 7 AM Saturday) was 0.58 inches. The 7-station city average was 0.65 inches. My residence in southwest Lawrence had the highest of these reports with 0.75 inches. Within the Topeka NWS area of responsibility, amounts ranged up to 1.69 inches at Concordia, followed by 1.49 inches at Manhattan. Topeka came in with 37 hundredths. A bit farther west, Salina reported 1.88 inches, the Great Bend Airport 1.83 inches and Hutchinson 1.25 inches.
Speaking of Great Bend, the very intense storm that struck there just before sunset Friday (see previous post) brought the highest CoCoRaHS amount in Kansas for October 7th. A CoCoRaHS site in the northeast part of Great Bend reported with 3.34 inches of precipitation. A nearby CoCoRaHS report on the northwest side of town came in with 2.05 inches. Large hail also fell, reported up to 1.75 inches in diameter. To the southwest about 10 miles, near Durdee, hail up to 2.5 inches was reported with severe wind damage to some power lines.
Back in the more tranquil Lawrence area (where we are safe!) the 72-hour rainfall total for this system as a whole came in at 0.92 inches at the Lawrence Airport, while the Lawrence city average came out to 1.25 inches. While this was perhaps not as exciting as the powerful storms that pummeled Great Bend (or hit from Salina to Manhattan), it was better than a smack in the head by large hailstone. Ouch!
Now for us diehards, a blow by blow account of the strong but waning (and then kind of regenerating) storm front as it crossed our region:
After a brisk and cool morning with temperatures around 60 degrees, a sunny and mild afternoon ensued on downslope western winds and late day temperatures in the upper 70s. It was a good evening for a bike ride to Clinton Lake after work, which my wife finally talked me into doing! The ride out was perfect under clear skies, light winds and lower humidity. The ground was moist but not terribly muddy on the Mound Point lookout trail by the lake with many gulls, some Pelicans and lots of spiders spinning their webs on the bushes, which I think may be preparing for a long distance, wind-borne flight.