I wrote yesterday, "Somebody is going to get hammered. It may not be here, but it's going to be nearby and it's going to be ugly."
That's basically what happened during yesterday's High Risk storm outbreak. Nearby areas to the west saw tornadoes, while areas to the east saw high winds. Cape Girardeau was in the transition zone as the storms evolved from individual supercells into a line. As a result, Cape just missed the ugliest stuff.
The preliminary storm reports map from the Storm Prediction Center shows widespread reports of severe weather from Missouri into Ohio. It also, curiously, shows a few tornado reports from California.
As I write this, the list include 81 tornado reports, although the number of actual tornadoes will likely drop as duplicate reports are merged. Among the 390 reports of hail across the country, it appears that St. Louis was hit the worst with a couple reports of 4.5-inch hailstones.
In Southeast Missouri, tornadoes were reported near Ellsinore, Grandin, Greenville, Silva, Oxly, Poplar Bluff, Patton, and Fredericktown. It appears that some of the worst damage was at Ellsinore in Carter County (an area hammered by a previous tornado in 2002) and at Silva in Wayne County. We'll know more after the National Weather Service is able to conduct damage surveys over the next few days.
We heard rumors yesterday that professional storm chasers had descended on Cape Girardeau, right in the middle of the High Risk area. They probably didn't see much near Cape, although one storm chaser was well-positioned at Ellsinore to capture some dramatic video of that twister.
The silver lining was the spectacular full-sky rainbow that many people saw just as the sun set.
A secondary rainbow was also visible, although, as is usually the case, it was very faint.
After another small chance for thunderstorms Friday night into Saturday morning, the weather pattern should make a large shift, putting us into summer-like hot and dry weather just in time for Memorial Day. The medium-range 6-10 and 8-14 day forecasts show that we are likely to see above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall. However, the longer-range 1- and 3-month forecasts suggest we could have below-average temperatures. I'll believe it when I see it!