October 24, 2014

Disaster declaration sought for 20 MO counties hit by Sept storms

Governor Nixon has asked the federal government to declare 20 counties in northern Missouri a disaster area, due to severe storms September 9 and 10. The declaration would allow local governments to seek assistance for the costs of response and recovery.

File photo of flooding near Waynesville.

File photo of flooding near Waynesville.

Nixon says strong winds damaged schools and other public buildings and some areas experienced days of flooding. He says assessments revealed damage to roads, bridges, and low water crossings. During the storms’ peak impact, 70 roads were closed including parts of I-29 and U.S. 36.

In a statement Nixon writes, “The response and recovery costs to the affected communities – some of which had already been hit by damaging severe storms in May and June – will be extensive, and federal assistance with these costs will help the entire region rebuild and move forward.”

Nixon is asking for the disaster declaration in Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Daviess, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Mercer, Nodaway, Putnam, Ralls, Shelby, Sullivan and Worth counties.

We’ll be drying out in Missouri (AUDIO)

Finally we’re seeing some sunshine after one of the wettest starts to October on record.

Missouri is a pretty soggy place, though, halfway through October–and some places have seen some tornados and high straight-line winds.

Patrick Guinan

State climatologist Pat Guinan says history shows late September and early October can have elevated chances of severe weather. He says the statewide rainfall average is about six inches, almost double the usual statewide average for the entire month.

This is the wettest start to an October since 2009, which is the second-wettest on record. The all-time wettest October was in 1941.

But this October is not expected to reach the wetness levels of those years.

AUDIO: Guinan says the outlook is for warmer and drier weather into November. (Interview 7:22)

NWS warns of ‘hurricane strength’ winds in southeast Missouri today

The National Weather Service is warning of the possibility of particularly strong winds this afternoon, as well as other severe weather phenomena. The greatest risk of damaging storms is in the Bootheel, with a lesser risk including the St. Louis region, southwest through south-central Missouri.

This graphic from the National Weather Service in St. Louis illustrates the severe weather threat today.

This graphic from the National Weather Service in St. Louis illustrates the severe weather threat today.

Dan Spaeth is a senior forecaster with the Weather Service office in Paducah, Kentucky. He says the threat comes from a storm system that developed over the southern plains and was impacting Oklahoma and Arkansas, Monday morning.

“That line of storms is pretty much going to be what’s going to be the show for southeast Missouri, it’s looking earlier and earlier like it may be closer to mid day when that happens,” says Spaeth.

He says the main threat will be damaging winds.

“There’s potential for those to be both widespread and significantly stronger than our typical severe weather event,” says Spaeth. He says the lowest wind speed the Weather Service terms “severe” is 58 miles-per-hour, “and we’re looking at the potential for wind gusts of 75 miles-per-hour, or hurricane strength winds, along some points of that line as it moves through.”

Tornadoes are possible, though Spaeth says they don’t look as likely as they did in earlier predictions.

Even if a tornado doesn’t spin out of a storm, Spaeth emphasizes that the kind of winds that are being predicted can be as dangerous or more so.

“It certainly creates different stresses. If you have stronger winds, even though they’re straight-line winds, if they’re there for a longer period of time, that will wear things down,” says Spaeth, “whereas a quick hit or even a near pass of a tornado, it’s going to be quick and gone and the stresses aren’t there as long, and things will survive the tornado but not the longer-term winds.”

Hail is possible with these storms but the Weather Service is not concerned about large or damaging hail.

Flooding is a threat, however, as more rain will be falling on already saturated ground.

“We’re looking at somewhere between an inch-and-a-half to two inches before all is said and done, and there are plenty of showers and storms this morning out ahead of the main line, too, that will add to that,” says Spaeth.

For information for your area, tune in to your Missourinet affiliate station and visit these Weather Service office websites.

In northwest and western Missouri:  Kansas City (Pleasant Hill) and on Twitter @NWSKansasCity

In northeast and eastern Missouri:  St. Louis and on Twitter @NWSStLouis

In southwest Missouri:  Springfield and on Twitter @NWSSpringfield

In southeast Missouri:  Paducah, KY and on Twitter @NWSPaducah

Scotland and Clark counties:  Davenport, IA and on Twitter @NWSQuadCities

More storms, some severe, sweeping Missouri Thursday

Severe weather that swept through Missouri Wednesday might be seen as a precursor for storms now moving through the state.

This radar image shows a line of storms stretching from south of Osceola, IA through south of Ottawa, KS, that has formed along a cold front and will sweep through the state today.  (courtesy of the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill)

This radar image shows at noon, Thursday October 2, 2014, a line of storms stretching from south of Osceola, IA through south of Ottawa, KS, that has formed along a cold front and will sweep through the state today. (courtesy of the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill)

The National Weather Service says the same storm system is causing storms today, but a cold front that held back on Wednesday is sweeping through today as well.

“Yesterday things were a little more scattered in nature, even though it still impacted a large part of the state,” says meteorologist Dan Hawblitzel. “What we’re going to anticipate seeing today is a more organized line forming across much of the state along that front and that’s going to be swinging through the area through much of the evening and then to the overnight hours across the state of Missouri.”

The line is predicted to gradually progress east through Missouri, with storms weakening in the late evening and producing showers and weak thunderstorms in southeast Missouri on Friday morning.  Other showers and thunderstorms are already occurring ahead of that line.

Until then, the possibility exists for severe weather in much of the state, with the greatest chance being in southwest Missouri and the Ozarks.

“Springfield, Branson, over towards West Plains – those are the areas most likely to see the stronger storms and heaviest rain, even though we could see storms and some locally heavy rain as far north as northeastern Missouri,” says Hawblitzel.

He says the primary threats with storms today will be damaging winds and large hail, but isolated tornadoes can not be ruled out.

Forecasters are particularly concerned about flash flooding from these storms.

“We’re getting some very heavy rainfall rates,” says Hawblitzel. “Right now the storms going through Kansas City, we’ve measured over an inch of rain in less than 30 minutes … those parts of the state more susceptible to flash flooding, especially the Ozarks and the Ozark hills, are going to have to keep a close eye on the flash flood potential.”

Hawblitzel reminds Missourians that the threat posed by flash flooding should not be taken lightly.

“Just the term ‘flash’ itself means it happens really quickly and that catches people off guard, and that is the most deadly type of flooding,” he says.

Though storms are expected to be more organized today, Hawblitzel says that doesn’t always translate to storms being more dangerous.

“The fact that we’ve already had several rounds of thunderstorms has kind of, what we would say, ‘worked the air mass over.’ It’s kind of taken the ‘juice’ that these storms want out of the atmosphere,” says Hawblitzel. “There’s still a little bit there for these storms to work with but overall severity isn’t looking quite as bad as it was yesterday. Being more organized just means we’re going to see more of them.”

He hopes that Missourians, after storms blew through Wednesday but didn’t cause widespread damage, don’t pay less attention to storms today.

“We hope that doesn’t happen,” says Hawblitzel. “Any time a warning is issued, it’s a storm to be taken seriously.”

For information for your area, visit these NWS pages:

In northwest and western Missouri:  Kansas City (Pleasant Hill)

In northeast and eastern Missouri:  St. Louis

In southwest Missouri:  Springfield

In southeast Missouri:  Paducah, KY

Scotland and Clark counties:  Davenport, IA

Severe weather possible for Missouri Wednesday and Thursday

A cold front will sweep east across the state Wednesday and Thursday and could be the focus for development of several rounds of strong to severe thunderstorms.

This graphic from the National Weather Service in Springfield shows what forecasters there are concerned about for Thursday.

This graphic from the National Weather Service in Springfield shows what forecasters there are concerned about for Thursday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Bowman tells Missourinet the first storms associated with that front are anticipated late Tuesday night in western Kansas and eastern Missouri.

“That’s going to set the stage for the Wednesday storms,” says Bowman. “Those storms will move away and then set the stage for another round of storms a little bit further east on Thursday.”

The primary threats with these storms will be damaging winds and hail, though there is the potential for tornadoes as well.

“The biggest tornado threat’s going to be over northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri, Wednesday,” says Bowman. “The threat for tornadoes looks a little bit lower on Thursday mainly just because it looks like a different mode of convection,” says Bowman. He says expected for Thursday is, “more a line of storms, as opposed to individual supercells on Wednesday.”

Rainfall projections are for two to three inches of rain to fall in some areas, which Bowman says could lead to localized flooding, but widespread flooding is not anticipated.

For National Weather Service information for your area, visit these NWS pages.

In northwest and western Missouri:  Kansas City (Pleasant Hill)

In northeast and eastern Missouri:  St. Louis

In southwest Missouri:  Springfield

In southeast Missouri:  Paducah, KY

Scotland and Clark counties:  Davenport, IA