Weather

Severe storms threaten weekend plans — even a few tornadoes possible

A tornado touched down in Oak Grove in the Oak Hills subdivision on the evening of March 6. Severe weather forecast for Saturday evening appears to have the similar set up to ones that brought the spring tornadoes.
A tornado touched down in Oak Grove in the Oak Hills subdivision on the evening of March 6. Severe weather forecast for Saturday evening appears to have the similar set up to ones that brought the spring tornadoes. along@kcstar.com

Severe thunderstorms similar to the ones that brought tornadoes to Oak Grove and the rest of the Kansas City area in early March are threatening to ruin weekend plans.

The storms will have the possibility of producing torrential rains, damaging winds, large hail and a few tornadoes.

“What it looks like is in mid- to late-afternoon we expect storms to develop across northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas,” said Spencer Mell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.

“That will eventual develop into a line of storms that’s going to move through the metro probably in that early evening time frame — maybe 5 to 10 p.m.”

The timing and area of the heaviest storms could change a little bit.

“But right now, we look like we are right smack in the middle of this thing,” Mell said.

As the line of storms move through the area, torrential rainfall will be possible. Some flash flooding will be possible in some areas.

Warm and humid weather on Friday into Saturday will set up the severe weather threat for when a cold front moves into the area Saturday afternoon and evening, said Spencer Mell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.

Initially, the storms will develop as individual cells or supercells capable of all types of severe weather. As the storms evolve into the evening hours, they are expected to develop into a line.

“At that point, the main severe threat is going to be damaging winds, however there’s enough wind sheer with these storms that could provide spins along that line,” Mell said. “We could see embedded tornadoes along that line of thunderstorms.”

Saturday’s storms appear to have the similar set up to ones that brought tornadoes to Oak Grove and the Kansas City area on March 6, he said.

An EF3-rated tornado tore through Oak Grove that evening, damaging more than 480 homes and 12 commercial buildings. A dozen people were injured; none of the injures was considered life-threatening.

Hundreds of Oak Grove residents picked through what was left of their homes Tuesday after a tornado tore through the eastern Jackson County community, damaging hundreds of buildings.

As those storms moved through the Kansas City area, tornadoes also touched down in Lee’s Summit, near Carrollton and in Leawood.

Wind sheer produced tornadoes along a line of storms that night as well, Mell said.

Fall tornadoes are not unusual. The Kansas City area does see a secondary severe weather season this time of year, Mell said.

Though a a little later than normal, it’s not out of the realm, he said.

People need to be prepared for severe storms on Saturday just as if this was spring storms threatening the area. In the fall, people tend to let down their guard after the calmer summer weather, Mell said.

People can get forecast updates on the National Weather Service Kansas City’s Facebook page and Twitter account.

The storms are expected to sweep through the area relatively quickly and move into central Missouri by late Saturday.

Sunday will be a typical fall day with highs around 60 degrees, slightly cooler than the average high of 67 degrees.

Hopefully, there won’t be a lot of storm debris to clean up.

“We never want to see those tornadoes occur, but we want people to be prepared if they do,” Mell said. “Debris can be cleaned up. Lives can’t be replaced.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

  Comments