Wednesday saw rain and an occasional thunderstorm move through the area, but today brings a real threat of severe storms, damaging winds, hail and the possibility of tornadoes forming around the state — especially in this region of southeast Missouri.
The chance of a severe weather event today isn’t limited to the “Show Me State,” however. In fact, the area of greatest risk covers a span of 1,000 miles — all the way from the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley.
The National Weather Service says the atmosphere will continue to energize today, from the South Central states into the Midwest. This will give southeast Missouri the greatest chance for strong thunderstorms and the formation of tornadoes from this afternoon when the high is expected to reach the mid-70’s. The threat of severe weather will continue into the evening hours.
On a sobering note, April 3 and 4 mark the 40th anniversary of the Super Tornado Outbreak of April 1974, which centered on the Ohio and Tennessee valleys. The severe weather outbreak of 1974 was one of the worst such events in U.S. history and yielded nearly 150 tornadoes, including seven F5 tornadoes with estimated winds topping 260 mph. The storms caused more than 300 fatalities.
While the NWS isn’t anticipating anything as severe as what occurred 40 years ago, even one tornado hitting a populated area has the potential to bring disaster.
The good news is that once today’s storm system moves out of the area the NWS is forecasting the region will see temperatures dip into the mid-50’s to low-60’s Friday through Sunday, with mostly clear skies through the period.
Keep an eye on the weather and check the Daily Journal website throughout the day at www.dailyjournalonline.com for the latest NWS watches and warnings.
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or firstname.lastname@example.org