Temperature records are being crushed across the Midwest. Columbia, Missouri, tied its all-time January high yesterday of 77°F!
We aren't likely to get that hot at Cape Girardeau, but our forecast high of 67°F for this afternoon is still mighty warm -- and we all know that unseasonable warmth in January typically brings thunderstorms.
And how! The Storm Prediction Center has issued their first Moderate Risk outlook for 2013. Cape Girardeau is just outside the Moderate area, but the hot zone keeps inching closer in our direction with each outlook.
Nevertheless, we are officially under a Slight Risk, and that is bad enough. We have a small chance for tornadoes this evening:
...and a better chance for damaging high winds.
In fact, we could see strong winds even away from the thunderstorms. The National Weather Service in Paducah has issued a Wind Advisory for this afternoon through tomorrow morning. The advisory states:
* TIMING: AROUND MIDDAY TODAY GUSTY SOUTHERLY WINDS WILL DEVELOP ACROSS SOUTHEAST MISSOURI...SOUTHWEST ILLINOIS...AND FAR WEST KENTUCKY. IN THE WAKE OF A FRONTAL PASSAGE TONIGHT WINDS WILL CONTINUE TO BE GUSTY OUT OF THE WEST TO NORTHWEST THROUGH MIDDAY WEDNESDAY.
* WINDS: WINDS ARE EXPECTED IN THE 25 TO 35 MPH RANGE WITH GUSTS UP TO 40-45 MPH.
The Paducah forecasters are expecting a "QLCS" (Quasi-Linear Convective System) to form and move through this evening. I'm a little fuzzy on the technical details, but we can think of a QLCS as a kind of squall line -- or a big blob of ugliness. Their forecast discussion says:
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT WE EXPECT A QLCS LINE OF STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS DEVELOPING ALONG OR JUST AHEAD OF THE FRONT CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS AND A FEW EMBEDDED TORNADOES.
The forecast discussion points out some ominous signs in one of the latest computer models, concluding dryly, "LETS JUST SAY THAT WOULD NOT BE GOOD FOR THE HOME TEAM."
Before then, the radar is currently showing some "bonus" storms popping up right over the Cape Girardeau area. Total rainfall from all of these storms could easily surpass 1.5 inches. In somewhat of a twist, more rain is expected to the north:
The Missouri River watershed will mostly get bypassed yet again, so this won't help the drought situation on the Great Plains. The rain should help prevent the Mississippi River from dropping even more at Thebes, but this is still not going to be a permanent solution to the low river levels.
We'll be watching this unfold from the Southeast Missourian's
24-Hour Storm Action Weather Command Center 8-Hour Weather Cubicle, so keep checking back for updates.