A long time Weather Watcher, Terry White, whofarms in South Central KS has a great question:

“Can you explain why the dip in the jet is bringing moisture to Arizona and New Mexico and completely missing Kansas?” Let’s take a look at his question….

When answering Terry’s questions we need to remind everyone that there are actually different Jets streams or rivers of air that flow over the Northern Hemisphere. The winter jet or Polar jet is the strongest jet stream which retreats North the closer we get to Summer. The next jet Stream we deal with is the Tropical Jet which is much higher in the atmosphere and usually much weaker that is why in the middle of summer you can see a Thunderstorm pop up and not move much and then collapse.

Here in the States that are close to get Rocky Mountains we experience nocturnal jet streams or low level jets that aid in the big time MCS Thunderstorm events – BIG Thunderstorm complexes that occur during summer nights…

Lets look at what got his attention- moisture moving Northeast from Baja to Arizona/New Mexico and not making it to Kansas.

This shows moisture streaming Northeast from Baja. This moisture is flowing along the Tropical Jet – see the yellow line? Areas along and South of that line are much warmer.

The High in the Gulf of Alaska as provides a Clockwise flow so how is that moisture moving Northeast?

It moving NE because of a mid level low off of the California Coast.

700mb or 10K ft above the surface:

850mb or 5000ft:

You will see that Red L off off the CA Coast, that Low is spinning counterclockwise and is sending moisture NE from the Baja region. Due to the heights of the Low the moisture makes it over the Arizona Mountains and then the moisture runs in to the Windward side of the Rocky Mountains where it falls or dissipates because it can’t make it over the rugged Rockies with heights of over 14000ft ASL. That’s just 4000 ft less than 500mb level!

We get moisture from the Baja region but it usually is from a stronger upper level system and one further South. The moisture is then drawn North to a Lee side Low in Eastern Colorado.

Take a look at this set up that Models are predicting next week- WE AREN’T PREDICTING THIS YET, IT JUST GIVES YOU WHAT WE START SEEING WHEN SPRING STORMS BEGIN….

This is a typical set-up where we here in Central and Eastern Kansas would likely see Thunderstorms- will that happen- again- our confidence is LOW this far out.

Here is are the increasing dewpoints that are one of the ingredients necessary for Storms with these developing Lows. These Lows draw moisture North from the Gulf of Mexico and sometime the Baja.

Additionally notice the H or High pressure over the Mid South- that High will bring moisture Northward with its clockwise flow.

Here is the precipitation forecast based on this afternoons models- (2-14) this would sure be welcomed but we ARE NOT buying into this solution… CONFIDENCE IS LOW.

We hope this helps answer Mr Whites questions about why the moisture in the SW isn’t making it to his farm fields.


Another Cold front moves through Thursday afternoon but not before the Southern 1/2 get very warm just ahead of the front.

Friday gets much chillier. With high in the low 30s to around 40 in Southeast KS.

Warm up Sat, Sun and Mon before a cool Tuesday.


Thursday and Friday as low relative humidities will exist- especially Friday.


If you have a weather question, please ask! We will try and answer it.