Severe weather possible for Tuesday evening as rainy weather pattern breaks down

photo by: Elvyn Jones

Water pours over the Bowersock Dam on the Kansas River on Monday, May 27, 2019. The National Weather Service office in Topeka said the weather pattern that has produced the heavy rains of the last month will break down Tuesday as low pressure that has been parked over the Rocky Mountains moves east across the Plains.

A persistent weather pattern that soaked Lawrence and northeast Kansas over the past six weeks is expected to break down late Tuesday, albeit in a way that will bring one more chance of severe weather to the area.

Kris Craven, meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Topeka, said the low pressure that has been parked over the Rocky Mountains the past six weeks will move east across the Plains on Tuesday, bringing a chance of supercell development and severe weather to northeast Kansas in the afternoon and evening.

“We need to be mindful of what could develop in the afternoon,” she said.

Low pressure over the Rocky Mountains coupled with a high-pressure dome over the U.S. Southeast were responsible for the heavy rains in Lawrence and northeast Kansas the past six weeks, Craven said. Although the storms that are expected Tuesday afternoon could produce locally heavy rains, they will move much more quickly than the recent thunderstorms that have drenched the region throughout May, she said.

The last storm of the persistent weather pattern took place Sunday night and Monday morning, and it only produced light rain in Lawrence and other parts of northeast Kansas, Craven said. The 0.1 inch of rain recorded at Lawrence Municipal Airport was typical of the trace amounts reported in northeast Kansas, she said. The heaviest rain from the storm fell in northern Missouri.

The light rains did not add more runoff to Clinton, Perry and Tuttle Creek lakes, Craven said. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started releasing water from Perry Lake Sunday with the expectation that the lake’s elevation would reach its flood level of 920.6 feet above sea level on Wednesday. A post on the Corps’ Perry Lake Facebook page states that on Monday, 10,000 cubic feet of water was being discharged from the lake per second.

In response to the flood throughout the state caused by the heavy rains, Gov. Laura Kelly on Sunday asked President Donald Trump to approve emergency assistance for 49 Kansas counties. Douglas County was not among the counties listed, but neighboring Franklin and Jefferson counties were.

It appears there will be little chance of additional rain through the remainder of the week after Tuesday’s storms pass, Craven said. There are slight chances for thunderstorms Wednesday evening, but overall the remainder of the work week should be dry with highs in the 70s, she said.


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