Cape Girardeau missed the severe thunderstorms yesterday. Not that I'm complaining, of course, since the storms to the south were downright ugly. Wind damage was reported in the Missouri Bootheel near Portageville, while Western Kentucky saw tornadoes, high winds, and deadly flash flooding.
The next storm system looks more ominous. It appears that it will be stronger, following a more northern track that puts Southeast Missouri in the bullseye for all kinds of "excitement" (hail, high winds, tornadoes, and heavy rain).
The National Weather Service in Paducah has already sounded the alarm, issuing the following special weather statement this afternoon:
...SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK FOR SUNDAY EVENING THROUGH MONDAY MORNING...
THE MODELS CONTINUE TO INDICATE A SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK IS POSSIBLE ACROSS SOUTHEAST MISSOURI...SOUTHERN ILLINOIS...SOUTHWEST INDIANA AND WESTERN KENTUCKY...MAINLY OVERNIGHT SUNDAY INTO THE EARLY MORNING HOURS MONDAY.
STRONG LOW PRESSURE AND A VIGOROUS UPPER LEVEL SYSTEM ARE FORECAST TO TRACK NORTHEAST FROM THE CENTRAL PLAINS SUNDAY EVENING TO THE OHIO VALLEY REGION BY MIDDAY MONDAY. THE MODELS INDICATE STRONG WIND FIELDS AND UNSTABLE ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS COULD LEAD TO STRONG TO SEVERE CONVECTION ACROSS THE FOUR STATE AREA...ESPECIALLY OVERNIGHT SUNDAY INTO THE EARLY MORNING HOURS MONDAY.
THE MODELS CONTINUE ADJUST THEIR STORM TRACK AND OVERALL TIMING SLIGHTLY...BUT THERE HAS BEEN A DECENT DEGREE OF CONSISTENCY THAT HAS INCREASED OUR CONFIDENCE THAT THERE IS AT LEAST A CHANCE OF A SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK. SHOULD ALL THE FORECAST PARAMETERS COME TOGETHER...LARGE HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS AND PERHAPS TORNADOES WILL ALL BE POSSIBLE.
OUR CONCERN LEVEL IS ELEVATED TOO...BY THE FACT THAT THE EVENT IS FORECAST TO OCCUR LATE IN THE WEEKEND...AND AT A TIME OF DAY NOT TYPICALLY THOUGHT OF AS ONE WHEN WE WOULD HAVE SEVERE WEATHER. LATE NIGHT AND EARLY MORNING EVENTS ARE PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS.
THE EVENT IS A LITTLE OVER TWO DAYS AWAY...SO ADJUSTMENTS TO THE THREAT LEVEL MAY BE MADE. HOWEVER...NOW IS THE TIME TO THINK ABOUT AND REVIEW YOUR TORNADO EMERGENCY PLAN OF ACTION. IT IS STILL A BIT TOO SOON TO SAY WITH HIGH CONFIDENCE THERE WILL BE AN OUTBREAK...BUT THE MODELS INDICATE THERE IS AT LEAST THE CHANCE.
It's a little too early to predict a tornado outbreak, but it's likely that we will see an outbreak of something nasty. Of particular concern is that nighttime tornadoes are typically the most dangerous. According to one study, nocturnal tornadoes are 2.5 times more likely to kill people than daytime twisters.
On the bright side, temperatures should remain relatively warm for the next week. It's still February, so things could be much worse. Indeed, today, Feb. 25, marks the anniversary of the Blizzard of '79.