Thanks to the recent string of below-average temperatures, we've been able to avoid a major outbreak of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes so far this year.
That might change tonight and tomorrow. It appears that we'll see three chances for thunderstorms:
This afternoon: Scattered storms, probably not a big deal
Tonight: Widespread thunderstorms, some could develop into supercells over Missouri and drop an isolated tornado
Saturday: Another round of widespread thunderstorms, with a better chance of supercells and tornadoes. However, the worst weather appears to be confined to areas south and east of Cape Girardeau. Strong non-thunderstorms winds are also possible as the low pressure system passes through.
The saving grace is that instability and moisture will be somewhat limited, making it unlikely that this system will generate the kind of massive tornado outbreak that warrants its own special on The Weather Channel. However, things could change. If Jim Cantore makes a visit tomorrow, we'll know we've got a problem.
For the gritty details, here's the current Hazardous Weather Outlook from the Paducah office of the National Weather Service:
.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT
SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS WILL DEVELOP ACROSS SOUTHEAST MISSOURI THIS AFTERNOON...AND THEY MAY EVENTUALLY SPREAD EASTWARD INTO SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AND WEST KENTUCKY BEFORE SUNSET. A STRAY SEVERE STORM CANNOT BE RULED OUT AT THIS TIME...WITH LARGE HAIL THE PRIMARY THREAT.
THUNDERSTORMS WILL BECOME MORE NUMEROUS AND INTENSE TONIGHT. THE STORMS WILL BE MOST NUMEROUS THIS EVENING OVER THE WESTERN HALF OF THE AREA...AND THEN SHIFT NORTHEAST TO THE EVANSVILLE TRI STATE BY MIDNIGHT. WITH WIND FIELDS INCREASING SIGNIFICANTLY...SUPERCELLS WILL BE POSSIBLE. LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS WILL BE THE PRIMARY THREATS...BUT A FEW BRIEF TORNADOES WILL BE POSSIBLE IN THE VICINITY OF THE WARM FRONT.
.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SATURDAY THROUGH THURSDAY
A SIGNIFICANT SEVERE WEATHER EVENT IS FORECAST FOR SATURDAY AFTERNOON...ESPECIALLY OVER WEST KENTUCKY...WHERE A MODERATE RISK OF SEVERE WEATHER EXISTS. VERY STRONG WIND FIELDS WILL COMBINE WITH RATHER LIMITED INSTABILITY TO SUPPORT SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING LARGE HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS...AND A FEW STRONG...LONG TRACK TORNADOES.
THE MOST INTENSE SEVERE WEATHER WILL IMPACT WEST KENTUCKY...BUT A FEW SEVERE STORMS WILL BE POSSIBLE THROUGHOUT THE FOUR STATE AREA. THE STORMS WILL MOVE INTO THE AREA AROUND NOON...AND THEN STREAK NORTH NORTHEAST AT 50 MPH THROUGH THE QUAD STATE DURING THE AFTERNOON. THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT WILL LIKELY BE OUT OF THE AREA BY SUNSET.
SUSTAINED WINDS IN EXCESS OF 30 MPH AND GUSTS OVER 45 MPH WILL BE POSSIBLE NEAR THE PATH OF A VERY STRONG SURFACE LOW...FORECAST TO MOVE NORTH THROUGH THE REGION SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
A CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS IS FORECAST SUNDAY...MAINLY IN THE AFTERNOON. AT THIS TIME SEVERE WEATHER IS NOT ANTICIPATED.