...Multiple Record Lows Broken this Past Weekend...

After what seems like a prolonged spell of rather humid conditions across the lower Missouri River Valley, the weather pattern shifted over the weekend to allow for a prolonged period of pleasantly dry and comfortable conditions.  These cool temperatures are due in part to a pattern favorable for allowing cool Canadian air masses to sink southward into the central United States behind numerous weak disturbances and reinforcing cool fronts.  As you can see from the animated image below, a pattern which often looks like a backwards "S" will feature a large trough of low pressure across the Great Lakes, likely resulting in very cool, showery, and grey days.  Areas along the Rockies experience very warm temperatures under a ridge of high pressure.  However, locations stuck in between these two air masses, such as Missouri and Kansas, often experience the most pleasant weather with near to slightly below average high temperatures, mostly sunny skies, and often times much drier and more comfortable air.

Animated Upper Level Weather Pattern (July 16-July 19)

While high temperatures ran some 15 degrees below their seasonal normals, low temperatures on the other hand were so low that they broke records in many locations.  Clear skies and light winds made conditions perfect for radiational cooling.  This is a process where without clouds or strong winds, the ground can more easily release its heat back toward space during nighttime hours, allowing air temperatures to cool much lower than normal.  On a cloudy night, this release of heat from the ground can be captured by overhead clouds and reflected back towards the earth, keeping temperatures warmer. Due to their lower valley elevations relative to other locations, St. Joseph, Lawrence, and Olathe New Century Airports will often experience overnight low temperatures much cooler than their surroundings.

Thus, with cooler than normal daytime temperatures and dry air in place, nighttime temperatures plummeted towards and even below the all-time records though Sunday morning.  Here is a listing of normal temperatures and record temperatures through the weekend for Kansas City and St. Joseph.


Kansas City (*R denotes Record)
Day Observed High Observed Low Normal Temperature Record High Record Low
July 17 76 (4th coldest) 55R 89 / 68 108 in 1954 59 in 1967
July 18 78 (4th coldest) 56R 89 / 68 111 in 1954 58 in 1984
July 19 81(Top 15 Coldest) 54R 89 / 68 109 in 1934 59 in 1947
July 20   62 89 / 69 109 in 1934 60 in 1971


St. Joseph (*R denotes Record)
Observed High
Observed Low Normal Temperature
Record High
Record Low
July 17
77(Record Cold High) 53R 90 / 68 106 in 1954 55 in 1976
July 18
78 (3rd Coldest) 53R 90 / 68 106 in 1934 54 in 1911
July 19
82 54R 90 / 68 108 in 1934 55 in 1947
July 20
  63 90 / 68 108 in 1934 50 in 1971



 Is it that unusual to break three records in a row?

Research provided to us by one of our media partners, WDAF FOX-4 in Kansas City, revealed that we have indeed broken record lows on three consecutive days here in Kansas City.  In total, since 1888 there have been 8 instances where the low temperatures has been broken in sequence. These dates are:

Dates: 3 Records in a Row  
October 27-30, 1925  
September 2-5, 1974  
December 18-20, 1983  
December 21-23, 1989  
November 1-4, 1991  
July 27-29, 1994  
October 7-9, 2000  
August 10-12, 2004  
July 17-19, 2009  

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