A thunderstorm with a pronounced rain shaft over West Burlington, Iowa on April 9, 2015 / Photo credit: Ryan Smith on YouTube
Midweek storms for the middle of the country
Last week, I talked about our transition to spring and the arrival of some severe weather for the middle part of this week. Things are still on track for that to unfold. As with snow and ice in the winter, I never like seeing people caught off-guard with springtime severe weather or heavy rainfall — particularly when it’s the first of the season.
I recommend that families have a severe weather plan in place — knowing exactly what everyone will do in various situations whenever severe weather threatens. Also, simple things like having easily accessible flashlights, extra batteries, and hand-crank lanterns can go a long ways to make you much more comfortable during power outages. Don’t worry or be scared about weather — just be prepared.
Tuesday evening and Tuesday night
Tuesday evening, showers and storms will be of an isolated, popcorn variety — like the quick non-severe shower we had in Burlington during the noon hour Tuesday. That type of weather will continue into Tuesday night, except that it’s possible tonight a few of the isolated thunderstorms could produce hail up to an inch in diameter along with wind gusts to around 50 miles per hour. Most likely, bad weather will remain west of us across Central Iowa Tuesday night.
Wednesday afternoon through Wednesday night
On Wednesday, the severe weather setup will become more favorable for producing winds and some hail. As with Tuesday, very isolated showers and storms are possible throughout the day.
The most potentially threatening Wednesday weather will occur late. In Eastern Kansas, Southeastern Nebraska, Southwestern Iowa, and Northwestern Missouri, tornado-producing thunderstorms will likely develop in the middle of the afternoon. These storms should then form into a vigorous, organized thunderstorm complex or even lines of storms that reach us later. By the time these storms reach us, they’ll lose most or all of their tornado-producing ability. Damaging straight-line winds would be our primary threat with this type of event.
As it seems now, depending on how well the storms hold together after the daytime heating of the sun is lost and storms move away from the cold front and better atmospheric support, 10:00pm to 3:00am Wednesday night looks to be the most likely time these thunderstorms would arrive here — after they’ve rolled clear across Iowa and Missouri all evening. I think the damaging wind risk is noticeably higher just a ways west of the Mississippi River — near Keosauqua, for example, which is just 45 miles southwest of Burlington (the way the crow flies).
Thursday afternoon through Thursday night
Certainly our now closer proximity to the multi-day, severe-weather-generating cold front would put us in the running for severe weather. The timing currently appears to be in the 4:00pm to 10:00pm window for the highest risk. That’s generally when storms can make the most of the daytime heating from the sun. Potential cloud cover and slightly cooler temperatures throughout the day could hammer back the threat quite a bit though. All the weather from Tuesday night through Thursday morning will set the stage for how the atmosphere behaves on Thursday and Thursday night. Stay tuned.