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Severe Weather Possible Tomorrow in the Ozarks

lightning
photo credit: National Weather Service

It definitely feels more like spring than winter today in the Ozarks.  Joplin broke a record high—68 degrees set in 2002 with highs today around 70.  As of 10:45 this morning, the temperature in Joplin had already reached 69.

Mike Griffin, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, explains the unusual weather we’re having…

"Basically, we have a big flow of moisture coming off the Gulf of Mexico--very warm, moist air that's heading from the south up to the north, so we're seeing this spring-like temperatures and air mass out there this afternoon," he said.

There’s only a slight chance for rain the rest of today and a 40% chance for showers and storms after midnight.  But Griffin says rain is likely tomorrow, and, with a cold front approaching, we could see some severe weather…

"Anytime you get this warm in late January and with a cold front moving in something's got to give, and so thunderstorms are gonna be likely tomorrow especially during the mid day hours for the Springfield area, and some of those could be strong to severe--looking at the main threat will be very high winds--some damaging winds, lightning, some small hail, can't rule out a couple of tornadoes, too," he said.

According to Griffin, tornadoes are rare in the Ozarks during the winter, but they can and have occurred. 

Cold temperatures will move in tomorrow night, and Griffin says Wednesday’s highs will be in the low 30s with a few flurries possible in the morning hours.  Wind chills Thursday night into Friday morning will be in the single digits.

For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.