The National Weather Service is warning that a great deal of moisture coming from the Gulf of Mexico could feed strong thunderstorms overnight and tomorrow, and storms tomorrow could be damaging. A system coming after Christmas could then cause flooding.
Meteorologist Doug Cramer says storms are expected to develop after midnight.
“Given the strong shear that will be present within in the Ozarks air mass we will see some strong to maybe even some severe storms late tonight into Wednesday morning, large hail being the primary risk with those storms,” said Cramer.
He said storms Wednesday afternoon are the most likely to be strong or severe.
“As a front passes through the area from west to east we think there will be some robust thunderstorms that develop along and east of a line from Branson up to right around maybe the Jeff City area or just east of Jeff City,” said Cramer. “Some of those thunderstorms will be capable of producing large hail, damaging winds, and the potential for tornadoes as well.”
The Weather Service is also watching the possibility that a storm system coming from the west after Christmas will produce rainfall amounts in excess of five inches in parts of primarily southern Missouri.
“This is very concerning because, one, our soil saturation is very high, so we’ve already got a lot of soil moisture in our area. Then also when we get heavy rain like this in the wintertime we don’t have all the vegetation to soak it up – the summertime we have a lot of vegetation because it’s a growing season – so when we get rainfall events like this that are heavy in the wintertime we see enhanced runoff and that typically makes the flooding worse,” said Cramer.
The Springfield Weather Service’s Situation Report predicts part of southeast Missouri could see more than seven inches of rain by Tuesday.
He said the threat of flooding is more concerning with the expectation of increased travel for Christmas.
“We think if we do get a lot of flooding this weekend … this is a weekend where we see a lot of people out and about and traveling to different family gatherings and things like that,” said Cramer. “We have a lot of state highways, well-traveled roads, that typically flood under these types of situations. We certainly urge all of your listeners, anyone that’s traveling across southern Missouri through the weekend, to remain very alert of any flooded roads and be very cautious about not crossing those low-water crossings that are flooded because that’s typically how we get most of our fatalities in southern Missouri.”
For information for your area, tune in to your Missourinet affiliate station and visit these Weather Service office websites.