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.
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.