Science & Environment

Elle Moxley / KCUR

As Mosby, Missouri, Police Sgt. Jason Lininger helped residents evacuate their Clay County homes Sunday morning, he asked Fishing River Fire how fast the water was rising.

"At one point, it actually rose four foot in one hour," Lininger told Gov. Jay Nixon during a briefing Monday afternoon.

Severe weather this weekend spawned 10 confirmed in Bates, Henry, Caldwell, Jackson, Ray, Newton, Lawrence and Polk counties. An unconfirmed tornado near Bethany leveled several grain elevators.

But the real problem was flash flooding.

A storm pattern bringing thunderstorms, heavy rain, hail and high winds moved across the Kansas City metro Saturday night. Flash flood and tornado warnings were issued for the region and thousands lost power. Most power had been restored by Sunday morning. 

Though there has been no major damage reported in Kansas City, the Clay County town of Mosby, Missouri, is under evacuation because of rising water, according to the Kansas City Star.

Jurassic fish reproducing once more in Missouri rivers

May 4, 2015

For the first time in 30 years, the Missouri Department of Conservation has confirmed evidence that the state-endangered lake sturgeon is reproducing in the wild.

Sam Hardy and Kristin Biagioli witnessed the sturgeon spawning first-hand in the Mississippi River north of St. Louis in mid-April.

Grant Bannister came to testify before the Kansas Legislature this week, traveling to Topeka from Alexander, in Rush County, population 65.

Bannister said his family had a typical Kansas farm — mostly wheat, some cattle. But he was addressing the Senate Utilities Committee about an entirely different income source.

“I grew up in rural Kansas, a simple farm boy,” Bannister said. “Now I'm selling wind energy to Yahoo.”

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

Five months after its grand opening, a massive new-generation ethanol plant in the southwest corner of Kansas is undergoing final adjustments as it prepares to begin full-scale production. The plant, built by a Spanish company with financing from the U.S. Department of Energy, is designed to produce clean-burning fuel — not from corn, but from the bits and pieces of crops left in farmers’ fields after harvest.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Soak up the sun while you can, Kansas City — the warm weather won't last.

Temperatures are expected to drop Thursday, with snow possible this weekend. Bummer, right? Not exactly, says Kansas State University climatologist Mary Knapp.

Knapp says too many warm nights in January can trick vegetation into thinking it's spring when there are still weeks of winter ahead. In this area, the last freeze is usually in April.

The following schools are closed, unless noted otherwise:

kcpl.com

Updated, 1:30 p.m.

According to an update on the KCP&L website: "We have restored nearly 90 percent of our affected customers. During the span of the storm, we had approximately 73,000 customers without power...Currently, we have approximately 6,500 customers remaining without power."

Our original post continues here:

Although there were no serious injuries reported in Monday night’s severe storms, rain and powerful wind gusts knocked out power for thousands across the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Last month was the fifth wettest June on record, and that has helped ease drought conditions across Kansas.

Assistant State Climatologist Mary Knapp says June was a critical month, because in parts of Kansas it's normally the wettest month. A lack of June rain would have meant Kansas missed a good chance to reduce the drought.

July is also a wet month in some areas, and Knapp says possible cooler weather this month could help further reduce the drought.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

If current forecasts hold, the Missouri River should fall below flood stage late Friday.

For weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers has been monitoring a stretch of the Missouri between Rulo, Nebraska, and Leavenworth, Kansas, after heavy rains fell upstream in South Dakota and Iowa.

On Thursday, though the river remained above flood stage in St. Joseph, Kansas City District Chief of Emergency Management Jud Kneuvean says the metro has been relatively fortunate.

Mike Rodriquez / Flickr User

Despite recent storms, parts of Missouri and all of Kansas are still experiencing some level of drought. What creates these extreme conditions, and how much rain does it take to bring us back to normal?

On Wednesday's Central Standard, we talk with Brian Fuchs, who explains the mechanics of a drought.

Guest:

  • Brian Fuchs​, Climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center

There probably isn’t enough tornado damage in Orrick, Mo., to qualify the small town 30 miles east of Kansas City for federal assistance.

Though the May 10 tornado ravaged homes and the local school, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says it's unlikely claims will top the $8.4 million threshold needed for federal disaster relief.

“We had a chance to tour the school today," says Nixon, who visited Orrick Wednesday. "The bottom line is that community, we’re working very hard to get the debris out of there.”

Wikipedia Commons

It’s that time of year when turtles become easy targets on Missouri and Kansas highways.

Turns out that male box turtles don’t know any better. They’re just out looking for mates, and that journey has them crossing busy highways where too often they become road kill.

In the final portion of Tuesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with a biologist from the Missouri Department of Conservation about those all too vulnerable turtles.

Guest:

Crazybananas / Flickr.com - CC

A hot, dry spring is sending mixed signals to Kansas climatologists trying to predict what kind of summer the Central Plains will have.

At the beginning of May, temperatures in Wichita, Kan., topped 100 degrees three times. Combine that with a lack of rain to the southwest, and crops across the state are starting to show signs of stress.

Wikimedia -- CC

What do rosaries, guitars and “Lord of the Rings” DVD box sets have in common?

They’re all objects that Kansas Citians said they would try to save if a tornado was on the way.

Given this week’s severe tornadoes across the United States, we used social media and the airwaves to ask you: What would you grab if a tornado was approaching?

We don’t advocate spending a lot of time scooping up material items if an incoming tornado is close to your home.

Ryan-O/Flickr-CC

The booming thunderstorms and crazy spring weather have moved in, and any Midwesterner knows what comes with them—tornadoes. Most of us retreat to basements when those sirens sound, but a select few take that as a cue to go hunting for the cyclones. 

@kctomato / Twitter

It’s official. Winter is over.

After months of snow storms in Kansas City, Thursday marked the first day of spring.

Calendar or not — we wanted to know when you really know spring is here.

This week, we asked listeners: For you, what’s the first sign of spring?

Many of your answers stemmed from nature, such as peeping frogs, chirping birds before sunrise and crocus flower sightings.

KCUR

Spring makes its official debut on Thursday.  

But we want to know what you think are the more telling indicators that winter is behind us.

Perhaps it’s March Madness basketball or the blooming of tulips.

Maybe spring is here when it’s warm enough to go outside without a jacket — or when Easter candy hits the stores.

Tell KCUR: For you, what’s the first sign of spring?

Elana Gordon / KCUR

  Updated 7:19 p.m.

Snowy, winter weather made another visit to the Kansas City area over the weekend, bringing multiple inches of snow and subzero temperatures to the region. 

Snow packed roads, ice and continuing temperatures below freezing prompted many area schools to cancel or delay classes for Monday. The list below will be updated as closures and cancelations come in.

courtesy: National Weather Service

Sleet, snow, and possibly a record low temperature for March - it's all moving our way.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Kansas City metro area in effect from Saturday at 6 p.m. to Monday at midnight. According to the NWS, four to eight inches of snow is possible, as well as up to one inch of sleet.

MoDOT Prepares For The Next Winter Storm

Feb 7, 2014

The state of Missouri is shipping fresh supplies to storage barns in Kansas City, but there is no guarantee there will be enough to last until spring.

A tractor trailer loaded with salt pulled into a Lee’s Summit storage dome Thursday within minutes of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's arrival for a press conference.

The dome was last filled six weeks ago, but it was virtually empty after recent snowstorms.

Missouri Department of Transportation Director, David Nichols says salt is being shipped into and then around the state to meet demand.

@TutoriousKC

Snow days in Kansas City mean sledding with the kids and game nights with friends.

But snow days also have brought once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like a first kiss or making a new set of friends on a stalled bus, according to feedback from our listeners this week.

Thousands of Kansas Citians found themselves at home this week during a snowstorm that dropped 10 or more inches across the metro area.

Heather Prewitt

Updated: Wednesday, 7:49 p.m.

Here we go again. Some school districts across the Kansas City metro are calling for another snow day Thursday as a result of snow, ice and bitterly cold temperatures.

The following schools have canceled or delayed classes for Thursday, Feb. 6:

HubertK / Flickr-CC

Forget the responsibilities a snow day brings for a moment and embrace your inner child. 

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we want your suggestions for the best sledding hill in KC. Plus, we all grumble about shoveling snow, so what’s the best way to do it? We talk with an expert to get you some tips and recommend the best kind of shovel.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Heavy snow blanketed the Kansas City metro Tuesday, bringing a snow day for most students and a holiday (or work-from-home day) for many adults.

We rounded up photos in the slideshow above from KCUR employees for a glimpse of what is going on across the metro.

We also compiled photos from social media users in the region, you can see their photos below:

Updated: Tuesday, 9:34 p.m.

A winter storm moved across the Kansas City metro Tuesday bringing heavy snow to the region. Forecasters expect snow to stop falling by early Wednesday, but the amount of snow will close some schools for the second consecutive day.

adwriter / Flickr-CC

If you're itching to get out there today with your saucer or sled and cruise down some hills, we've got recommendations for the best sledding hill in the metro area.

Courtesy / MoDOT

Kansas City area drivers may not love multi-inch snowfalls but since 2005 they have stood a better chance of getting through it. That was the first time something called a “tow-plow” showed up on highways and it was created in Kansas City as one-of-kind. Since those days, its use has spread to other parts of the county. 

The contraption is pulled behind a truck instead of pushed from the front.

Efficiency of the 'tow-plow'

KCUR

Kansas Citians are pretty accustomed to snow days after the past 12 months.

A year ago, a winter storm clobbered Kansas City with 20.5 inches of snow.

The February snowfall, which made it into the record books at the National Weather Service,  preceded several other severe snow storms that hit Kansas City in 2013.

A winter storm that is expected to move across the Kansas City metro area Tuesday has prompted the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDot) to urge people to stay home, if possible.

"This storm is forecast to shape up much like the heavy snow we faced nearly a year ago," said MoDOT engineer Dan Niec, in a release Monday.

Niec said in February 2013 many employers sent workers home midday after they realized how heavy the snow was falling, clogging highways and interstates and bringing snow removal efforts to a standstill.

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