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Severe storms are a possibility this afternoon and this evening. KSMU's Missy Shelton spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Doug Kramer and files this report.
Shelton: What is the weather situation looking like today?
Kramer: We're watching a very powerful storm system crossing the Rocky Mountains. We're going to be watching a dry line across Kansas and Oklahoma. Moisture continues to surge north from the Gulf ahead of the line. As that dry line surges into eastern Kansas, we feel there will be a broken line of strong to severe storms that form along that, eventually progressing east, northeast, eventually making its way into western Missouri late this afternoon/this evening.
Shelton: Do we have a precise time we expect these storms to enter Southwest Missouri?
Kramer: The Joplin/Springfield area could be impacted by these storms anytime after 5 this afternoon. The dry line surging into eastern Kansas possibly triggering storms around 4 or 5 and then making progress into western Missouri shortly after that.
Shelton: Are tornados a possibility?
Kramer: There are some indications there that the ingredients for tornados could come together. We'll have to watch this system closely.
Shelton: How does this storm compare to the storm that brought the tornados last month?
Kramer: It's a completely different structure. The circulation around this system is broader and strong. The wind fields are very conducive to organized storms, super cellular storms which could include tornados. But some other ingredients are different such as the instability. It's not quite as strong as we saw on March 12th or May, 2003. The moisture structure in the lower atmosphere is different as well. Every system is different. Some of those minute differences could make a world of difference in the kind of storms you get and what impacts you're going to get.
Shelton: What is our risk?
Kramer: The storm prediction center out of Norman, Oklahoma has just issued their latest outlook. They have a high risk of long-track tornados across northeast Kansas. The National Weather Service in Topeka, their area would be in that high risk. The moderate risk stretches across much of the Ozarks, down into Arkansas, eastern Kansas and Oklahoma.
Shelton: If there's any good news, we're aware of this in advance and there's time to prepare.
Kramer: That's right. We encourage everybody to get the information and know what to do. Monitor weather conditions this afternoon and this evening very closely because of the risk for severe weather and potentially tornados. We hope everybody has methods of getting weather information.