Weather systems are popping up throughout various regions of Missouri, some of which could get severe.

(Click photo to go to NOAA National Weather Service Web page.)

(Click photo to get updated map on the NOAA National Weather Service Web page.)

Steve Runnels, a meteorologist with the NOAA National Weather Service in Springfield says it’s beginning now.

Runnels says hail is the most immedicate threat, but damaging winds are a possiblity. He says as we go farther into afternoon and evening, tornado threats will be developing from South Central Missouri area to the St. Louis area.

“Unfortunately, the storms look to continue throughout the afternoon and into the evening hours,” he said.

Runnels is asking the public to keep an eye on their local forecast, and if a warning is issued to take shelter immediately.

Flooding is being reported in some parts of the state as well.

Jessica Machetta interviews Steve Runnels, NOAA National Weather Service meteorologist, Springfield [Download / listen Mp3, :53 sec.]

View National Weather Service St. Louis area watches / warnings.

View National Weather Service Kansas City area watches / warnings.

AmerenUE is issuing the following statement amid the forecast:

With severe weather predicted for parts of the AmerenUE service area this evening and over the weekend, UE has prepared personnel, equipment and other resources to respond quickly to any storms that result in power outages.  UE also advises customers that the spring storm season is a good time to take steps, themselves, to prepare for storms—to help ensure safety and minimize the impact of any outages that do occur.

A key part of UE’s storm response plan is the ability to track the direction and intensity of approaching storms to help identify what areas are likely to be hardest hit, so crews, materials and logistical resources can be sent to those areas in advance of the storm.

One important tool is Quantum Weather™–a highly-precise weather monitoring and forecasting system developed through a partnership between UE and the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at St. Louis University.  UE also uses a sophisticated lightning detection system which tracks the location, movement and intensity of storms based on the number of lighting strikes.

UE urges customers to prepare for storms, too, and offers the following tips:

  • At all times, stay clear of downed power lines and always call if you see downed lines. Don’t walk in standing water, and don’t venture out in the dark because you won’t be able to see a power line that could still be energized and dangerous.
  • Customers should avoid attempting to remove tree limbs or debris near power lines.  Often times the line can remain energized.  In this instance, contact UE at 1-800-552-7583 and report the finding.
  • For maximum safety, customers should consider hiring a professional to remove trees or debris when in close proximity to power lines. 
  • Because most major outages are caused by bad weather, start by developing shelter plans for severe storm and tornado conditions.
  • If any member of your family has a medical condition, plan and make arrangements to have that person’s special needs met in the event electricity is not available for an extended period of time during a storm.
  • Then, assemble a “storm kit” and store it in a secure, centrally located part of your house. Make sure all family members know where to find that kit. Details on what the kit should include can be found at:
  • If your electric service is interrupted, be sure to unplug or protect sensitive computer and electronic equipment with a high-quality surge protector.
  • Then, check first with a neighbor to see if you are the only one without power.  If you are the only one without service, check your panel box for a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. If any breakers are in the “off” position or if a fuse is blown, you should investigate the problem.  If you are still without power, or if others in your neighborhood are experiencing a power outage, call UE, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and always call as soon as possible to report a downed line or natural gas odor!
  • Report it to UE at 1-800-552-7583.