weather

Patrick Quick / KCUR

Steve Bean is the guy who oversees Kansas City's 127 tornado sirens, each expected to alert people within a mile of potentially life-threatening storms. It's part of his job at the city's Office of Emergency Management.

Even so, he doesn't have tornado nightmares. 

"In an odd way, I love it," he admits. "We spend a lot of time preparing for the 'big one,' so to speak. So it's kind of like — I guess it's like fishing. Once in a while, you want to catch something. Now, I don't want tornados to come, but we do like to be able to see that we made a difference."

Earthquakes are more frequent than ever in Oklahoma, and they're hitting harder. KCUR's Frank Morris visits Kansas's neighbor to the South and gets perspectives and stories from those directly affected by the situation. Is the cornerstone of that state's economy shaking its foundation?

MattysFlicks / Flickr, Creative Commons

When storms roll in, some people rush to the window to watch, while others are rushing to the basement. What is the difference between a healthy fear of weather and out-of-proportion anxiety? A mother and daughter professor duo have combined their expertise in the separate fields of geography and psychology to investigate severe weather phobias.

Guests:

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.

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
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. 

Frank Morris / KCUR-FM

If you think the roads you’re driving on seem worse than usual this winter, you’re probably right.The waves of snowstorms in much of the country have exhausted supplies of rock salt, the main tool that road crews use to melt ice and snow. Even areas with vast quantities of salt underground are having a hard time getting it onto their streets this year.

When Milwaukee fights road ice with cheese brine, New Jersey breaks out the pickle juice and New York, a major salt producer, declares a salt shortage, you know you’ve got a widespread problem.

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.

January 12, 1888, began as an exceptionally warm winter day. Farmers were tending to their fields as boys and girls raced to school with no coats or gloves. 

Mid-morning in the Dakotas and around afternoon dismissal in Nebraska, hurricane-force winds and torrential snow engulfed the plains. By midnight, wind-chills had plummeted to 40 below zero.

The next morning, up to 500 people lay dead on the prairie, many of them school children, who died while trying to find their way home.

Be grateful if your employer allows you to stay home on snow days. For hospital workers, they can mean days away from home.

University of Kansas doctors, nurses and other emergency health providers slept in cots at the hospital before and after the snow storm that pummeled Kansas City on Tuesday.

"We're operating like a hotel," says Jill Chadwick of KU Hospital.

KU Hospital's clinics were closed Tuesday, but the emergency room, as well as services like chemotherapy and organ transplants, continued operations as scheduled.

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'

The snow storm approaching the Kansas City metro area could deliver the deepest blanket of white this year.  The storm is prompting calls for people to stay off the streets Tuesday – when the heaviest snowfall is expected between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. 

The prospect of further clogged highways and streets in and around Kansas City has brought pleas from both the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Missouri Department of Transportation.

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.

Jim Ramnes / CC-Flickr

An Amtrak train carrying more than 200 people arrived in Chicago early Monday morning, Jan. 6, after the bitterly cold weather stopped it for more than eight hours. 

In the latest edition of 90-Mile View, Amtrak engineer and conductor Eric Peterson talks with Up to Date host Steve Kraske about the effects of the recent country-wide deep-freeze on railroad operations. Peterson has previously appeared on the program to share his love of trains and tales from the tracks.

In answer to the bitter cold, a Kansas City Salvation Army team that deals with the camp-living homeless will be out for the next three nights. The numbers served are small, but the services are life-saving.

On a Summer night, relief volunteers see about a hundred people in the makeshift camps. Numbers dwindle to 30 or 60 a night when the harshest winter hits.

Sean Tyson runs emergency and disaster aid for the Salvation Army, which brings clothing and warm food to people in woods along the Missouri River and its bridges and West Bottoms.

Winter weather is expected to move across the Kansas City area this weekend, likely bringing freezing rain, snow and ice.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Kansas City metro. Ice accumulations on Saturday are expected to be less than an inch, Saturday night could see up to eight inches of snow.

Updated 3:04 p.m.

Rain is expected to continue this afternoon with snow tonight and overnight, according to an update from the National Weather Service.

In the latest report, NWS forecasters say: "Light snow accumulations will be possible with a dusting to 3" in the local area. Snow will end by daybreak Saturday, with a chilly day anticipated."

A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the metro area through 9 a.m. on Saturday.

School and community closings (Saturday)

Are KDOT And MoDOT Ready For Winter?

Nov 22, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Kansas City area drivers have had 8 months—to the day—to forget what it’s like to drive through 12 inches of snow falling in a single day. That February 21, mammoth fall was followed by an identical one four days later.

So, as we gear up for winter again, how ready are the metro Kansas City highway departments for 2013?

Kansas City Heat Forecast To Moderate This Week

Jul 22, 2013
Weather Or Not

There is relief forecast for metro residents who sweltered through the last work week.

  Normal temperatures this time of year in Kansas City range from 89 to 91 degrees. 

The trend departs from the season of 2012.

Records show there were 11 days of 100 degrees or higher up to July 22 of  last year. The highest at downtown airport was 107. Kansas City International was 106 degrees.

The moderation of the last full week of the month will give way in August to something like the first part  of July, according to some meteorologists.

Heat Advisory Issued for Kansas City Area

Jul 9, 2013
Bev Sykes/Flickr/CC

Temperatures could hit as high as 98 degrees Tuesday with the heat index reaching 108 degrees, but those temperatures aren’t expected to last long. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the Kansas City area.  It begins at noon and lasts until 7 p.m. Tuesday evening.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Cutter in Pleasant Hill, Mo. says a cold front will break the heat this evening and could bring thunderstorms.

Steve Bell / KCUR

UPDATE 11:51 a.m. Storm Water Withdrawing:

The heavy rain and thunderstorms across the Kansas City area Friday are receding.

According to Chris Bowman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, the main event appears to be over.

"It's just really kind of cleaning up from the morning's heavy rain," Bowman said.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

People in the path of severe weather (and other emergencies) now have a new way to find out about threats: text message alerts, sent straight to mobile devices.

Theodore Scott/Flickr--Creative Commons

Updated 10:15 a.m Storms Aftermath Shows Power Restoration:

Utility troubleshooters from KCP&L have restored a large portion of service to harder hit areas. The utility’s web site indicated the Raytown area had 237 outages just after 10 a.m.

Six hours earlier there were 4500 without electricity. Missouri outages of more than one hundred customers in other area districts and cities include:

National Weather Service

Update 8:33 p.m. Spring Storms Move East Out Of Metro:

The spring storm system that rolled through the Kansas City area Sunday evening brought heavy rain and high winds, but had dissipated enough to spare the region from the large hail and tornado-producing conditions that racked parts of Kansas and Oklahoma.

Still, thousands of homes and businesses were without power Sunday night and there were numerous reports of downed trees.

National Weather Service

6:50 pm update: National Weather Service cancels tornado watches for most of the Kansas City metro area. A watch remains in effect in Linn and Miami counties.

A storm system is developing over the Kansas City region that is more likely than not to produce tornadoes.

By reckoning of forecasters, the gathering of forces is unusual. 

Super-cells had already formed and fallen apart in areas of east central Missouri by mid-afternoon.

Forecasters are predicting 6 to 10 inches of heavyweight snow moving into the area on Saturday. The snow, beginning with rain or mixed precipitation, is likely to continue into Sunday.

Record Snow And More Possibly On The Way

Feb 22, 2013
Frank Morris / KCUR

This snowstorm was a record-breaker, dumping the most snow Kansas City has ever seen on a February 21st.  Kansas City got 9.2 inches at KCI, but some towns in the area saw even more snow than that.

Belton and Leawood both got 11.5 inches; Roeland Park totaled 12 inches, and Overland Park received the most, some 13 and a half inches. 

Snow Snarls Traffic, More Snow Expected

Feb 21, 2013
Frank Morris / KCUR

It was a bad day to try to get around in Kansas City. KCI essentially closed at mid-morning with about 300 flights cancelled. Although flights are expected to resume later tonight, more cancellations are all but certain tomorrow morning. Driving was terrible, too.

Frank Morris / KCUR

You know it's bad when the host of Up to Date needs a push into the parking lot at KCUR.

School Closings

Jan 30, 2013

The National Weather Service has cut its forecast for snow accumulation to one or two inches--about half of what it was earlier. A winter weather advisory remains in effect through Wednesday morning. Some school districts in outlying areas have cancelled classes.

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