Update 1 PM - Watch upgraded to a warning
Spring has arrived early, at least for this week. The National Weather Service has issued a rare High Wind Warning from 3 AM to 5 PM tomorrow. Here's what their bulletin says:
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PADUCAH HAS ISSUED A HIGH WIND WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 5 PM CST WEDNESDAY FOR ALL OF SOUTHEAST MISSOURI...SOUTHERN ILLINOIS...SOUTHWEST INDIANA AND WESTERN KENTUCKY. THE HIGH WIND WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST WINDS ARE FORECAST TO INCREASE LATE TONIGHT AND BECOME STRONG AND GUSTY WEDNESDAY. LATE TONIGHT...WINDS WILL INCREASE TO 15 TO 30 MPH WITH A FEW GUSTS UP TO 40 MPH AT TIMES. IN ADDITION...THERE IS A SLIGHT RISK OF STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ESPECIALLY LATE TONIGHT...WHICH MAY RESULT IN EVEN STRONGER WINDS AT TIMES.
A BAND OF STRONG TO POSSIBLY SEVERE STORMS WILL MOVE RAPIDLY NORTHEAST ACROSS THE REGION WEDNESDAY MORNING...THUS THE THREAT FOR STRONG WIND GUSTS WILL CONTINUE. BEHIND THE SHOWERS AND STORMS...NON THUNDERSTORM GRADIENT WINDS ARE FORECAST TO INCREASE AND BECOME SOUTHWEST. SPEEDS OF 20 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 50 MPH ARE EXPECTED. THE WINDS SHOULD GRADUALLY DIMINISH DURING THE MID TO LATE AFTERNOON HOURS.
THIS HIGH WIND WARNING IS IN EFFECT...BECAUSE OF THE HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS THAT MAY RESULT FROM THE EXPECTED STRONG AND GUSTY WINDS. THE RECENT ICE STORM THAT AFFECTED WESTERN KENTUCKY...AND PORTIONS OF FAR SOUTHERN ILLINOIS...SOUTHWEST INDIANA AND SOUTHEAST MISSOURI LEFT SOME TREES IN A WEAKENED STATE...WITH MANY LOOSE HANGING LIMBS AND BRANCHES. THE WINDS MAY RESULT IN NEW POWER OUTAGES FOR SOME AREAS...AND RESULT IN MINOR PROPERTY DAMAGE AS WELL. BE CAUTIOUS IF YOU MUST TRAVEL LATE TONIGHT INTO TOMORROW. LIMBS OR EVEN WEAKENED TREES COULD COME DOWN ON AREA ROADWAYS.
Meanwhile, we could see strong to severe thunderstorms tonight, which would bring their own wind gusts. Southeast Missouri has a slight risk of severe storms, while parts of Texas and Arkansas could see a tornado outbreak.
The risk areas on the map are based on the probability that a severe thunderstorm will occur within 25 miles of a given point. According to the FAQ at the Storm Prediction Center, "The term severe thunderstorm refers to a thunderstorm producing hail that is at least penny size, 0.75 inches in diameter or larger, and/or wind gusts to 58 mph or greater, and/or a tornado."
With near-record high temperatures above 70°F expected today, we can't really call this system "Winter Storm Grampa". We'll have to come up with a new naming convention for spring and summer storms. Anybody have any suggestions?