...Record Warm Temperatures Bring Unusual December Severe Weather to the Area...
December 26, 2008

An abnormally warm and humid air mass spread across Kansas and Missouri on Friday, thanks in part to a large and powerful storm system which developed across the Great Basin.  Temperatures Friday afternoon soared to records levels in the upper 60s.  In fact, daily high temperature records were set in Kansas City, St. Joseph, Concordia, Joplin, Springfield, Vichy-Rolla, and Des Moines.  This spring-like air mass set the stage for a rapid swing in weather conditions across the area, with extensive snow melt in Iowa creating ice jams and river flooding.

By the evening hours of the 26th, the powerful upper level storm system was beginning to bear down on the Central Plains.  A potent cold front was swinging through Nebraska and Iowa, with the development of thunderstorm activity across much of eastern Kansas and west central Missouri by 9 pm.  This thunderstorm activity, while strong to severe, caused litte in the way of damage, however did produce flash flooding in areas from Warrensburg, MO to Moberly, MO.

After midnight however, a large line of thunderstorms began to develop further to the west along the aforementioned cold front stretching from central Kansas into northwestern Missouri.  Additional stronger thunderstorms developed in areas near Emporia, KS and further southward along Interstate 35 by 3 am.  These thunderstorms would go on to produce widespread wind damage as they lifted northward into the Kansas City Metro and areas to the south and east.  Composite radar imagery below indicates the regional progression of this line of storms and their track across the region.

 Composite Radar - Click to Enlarge  Composite Radar - Click to Enlarge
 Radar Image - 1:00 AM CST  Radar Image - 4:00 AM CST
 Composite Radar - Click to Enlarge  Composite Radar - Click to Enlarge
 Radar Image - 4:30 AM CST  Radar Image - 6:00 AM CST
Composite Radar - Click to Enlarge  
 Radar Image - 7:06 AM CST
   

By 430 in the morning, an initial storm moving northeast out of Ottawa, KS began taking on a bowing shape. Initially, winds with this storm only ranged between 40 and 50 mph.  However, as this storm began to interact with the strong cold front situated just north of Olathe, KS northeast through Raytown and Blue Springs, MO, a strong rush of winds propelled well out ahead of the rain and lightning portions of the storm.  This sharp surge of air was measured by observation stations at New Century Airport in Olathe, KS at 79 MPH, and further east in Lees Summit at 64 MPH. Needless to say, numerous tree damage, window damage, and roof damage occurred in a narrow corridor along a line from Olathe, through Grandview and further east towards Lees Summit.  Elsewhere, while winds were not as strong as in southern Johnson and Jackson counties, downtown Kansas City and areas to the east also received winds in excess of 60 mph. Radar imagery below captures the storm as it entered into Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties.  Note the strongest winds of this storm were well in front of the rain, with radar data indicating extreme hurricane force winds greater than 80 mph.

 Radar Image from 4:34 AM Radar Image from 4:44 AM
 KC Radar Image from 4:34 AM CST Dec 27   KC Radar Image from 4:44 AM CST Dec 27

 

A second look at the observation from Olathe, Kansas reveals just how powerful this storm was.  Shown below is a time series plot of temperature, dew point, wind speed, wind gust speed, and wind direction (wind barbs).  Notice the rapid change in temperatures within an hours time as the strong cold front and thunderstorm  gust front intersected each other. All-in-all, a 31 degree temperature drop was recorded with a maximum wind gust of 79 mph.

 Time Series of Observations
 Time Series of Observations in Olathe, KS Storm Reports from Kansas City Area

A second stronger storm raced northeast after 530 am, however as this storm moved much deeper into the colder air which was arriving from the northwest. Fortunately, it wasn't able to produce the strong damaging winds similar to its predecessor to the north.

Below you will find a listing of severe weather reports which occurred during this event.  If you have pictures of the event or of the damage experienced, we would love to see them!  Please share your images with us by sending them to w-eax.webmaster@noaa.gov

 


 
PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE KANSAS CITY/PLEASANT HILL MO


..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
..REMARKS..
1206 AM     HAIL             WARRENSBURG             38.76N 93.73W
12/27/2008 E0.88 INCH JOHNSON MO TRAINED SPOTTER

NICKEL SIZED HAIL IN NORTHWEST WARRENSBURG

1214 AM TSTM WND DMG 12 W CHILHOWEE 38.59N 94.08W
12/27/2008 JOHNSON MO TRAINED SPOTTER


4 INCH LIMBS DOWN AND A TREE DOWN ACROSS HIGHWAY 2 IN
RURAL SOUTHWEST JOHNSON COUNTY MO.


1245 AM HAIL FERRELVIEW 39.31N 94.67W
12/27/2008 E0.75 INCH PLATTE MO TRAINED SPOTTER

DIME SIZED HAIL REPORTED


1249 AM HAIL INDEPENDENCE 39.09N 94.35W
12/27/2008 E1.00 INCH JACKSON MO PUBLIC


0206 AM TSTM WND DMG 1 W AMAZONIA 39.89N 94.91W
12/27/2008 ANDREW MO LAW ENFORCEMENT

WINDS RIPPED A PORCH OFF OF A HOUSE ON RTE 398 NEAR THE
MISSOURI RIVER.


0431 AM TSTM WND GST OLATHE 38.89N 94.81W
12/27/2008 M79.00 MPH JOHNSON KS ASOS


0442 AM TSTM WND GST OVERLAND PARK 38.91N 94.68W
12/27/2008 M61.00 MPH JOHNSON KS ASOS


0444 AM TSTM WND DMG OVERLAND PARK 38.91N 94.68W
12/27/2008 JOHNSON KS LAW ENFORCEMENT

159TH AND OUTLOOK...WINDOWS BROKEN OUT FROM HIGH WINDS.


0448 AM TSTM WND DMG GRANDVIEW 38.88N 94.52W
12/27/2008 JACKSON MO LAW ENFORCEMENT

POWER LINES AND TREES DOWN THROUGH OUT THE CITY. ROOF
DAMAGE TO AN APARTMENT COMPLEX.


0449 AM TSTM WND GST SW RAYTOWN 38.99N 94.47W
12/27/2008 E80.00 MPH JACKSON MO TRAINED SPOTTER


0449 AM TSTM WND DMG 5 SW RAYTOWN 38.94N 94.53W
12/27/2008 JACKSON MO TRAINED SPOTTER

LARGE BRANCHES DOWN. NUMEROUS POWER FLASHES FROM POWER
LINES IN SOUTHERN KANSAS CITY.


0452 AM TSTM WND GST KANSAS CITY 39.12N 94.55W
12/27/2008 M60.00 MPH JACKSON MO ASOS

MEASURED BY MKC ASOS


0453 AM TSTM WND DMG 2 N GRANDVIEW 38.91N 94.52W
12/27/2008 JACKSON MO LAW ENFORCEMENT

MULTIPLE TREES DOWN NEAR INTERSTATE 470 AND BLUE RIDGE
BOULEVARD


0456 AM HAIL LEAVENWORTH 39.32N 94.92W
12/27/2008 E0.88 INCH LEAVENWORTH KS TRAINED SPOTTER


0459 AM TSTM WND GST 4 N LEES SUMMIT 38.97N 94.38W
12/27/2008 M63.00 MPH JACKSON MO ASOS

CORRECTED LAT AND LON OF REPORT


0500 AM TSTM WND DMG KANSAS CITY 39.12N 94.55W
12/27/2008 JACKSON MO PUBLIC

WIND GUSTS UP TO 60 MPH AT MKC AIRPORT. RESULTED IN MINOR
AIRPORT DAMAGE.


0506 AM TSTM WND GST LIBERTY 39.24N 94.42W
12/27/2008 M60.00 MPH CLAY MO TRAINED SPOTTER


0511 AM TSTM WND DMG KANSAS CITY 39.12N 94.55W
12/27/2008 JACKSON MO FIRE DEPT/RESCUE


POWER LINES AND LARGE TREES DOWN SCATTERED THROUGH OUT
KANSAS CITY MO


0515 AM TSTM WND GST ORRICK 39.21N 94.13W
12/27/2008 M74.00 MPH RAY MO AWOS

WIND MEASURED BY AUTOMATED WEATHER STATION


0531 AM TSTM WND GST RICHMOND 39.28N 93.97W
12/27/2008 E60.00 MPH RAY MO TRAINED SPOTTER

CORRECTED THE SOURCE OF THE PREVIOUS REPORT


0655 AM FLASH FLOOD 2 N SWEET SPRINGS 39.00N 93.42W
12/27/2008 SALINE MO LAW ENFORCEMENT

WATER OVER ROAD 127...NORTH OF I-70 NEAR DAVIS CREEK.


0700 AM FLASH FLOOD 5 S CONCORDIA 38.91N 93.56W
12/27/2008 JOHNSON MO EMERGENCY MNGR

HWY 23 CLOSED AT BLACKWATER FROM FLOODING

 


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