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The severe weather season has arrived

The severe weather season has arrived in many parts of the country, while other areas are still holding tight winter weather.

Just last week, parts of Missouri experienced extreme weather, and days later, winter rains fell. All of these changes came from the same weather system that caused cooler temperatures and triggered extreme weather, not only in Missouri, but across the southeastern parts of the country as well.

For Missouri, the most notable impact of the system came from lower temperatures, with the exception of St. Joseph, where a confirmed tornado caused damage to homes in the area. The National Weather Service surveyed the damage on Wednesday, giving the tornado an intensity rating of EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which is used to rate tornadoes by the damage they cause and their recorded wind speed. This hurricane had winds of 90 miles per hour, and the recorded path length was three-tenths of a mile.

Parts of the southern United States have not largely escaped this same system as Missouri has. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, several states from Oklahoma to Alabama were told to prepare for severe weather. On Wednesday, a choppy streak of storms crossed Louisiana. At one point, the hurricane was warned of almost the entire line of storms from Louisiana’s southern coast to the state’s northern border. Parts of the storm line that did not have hurricane warnings are severe thunderstorm warnings.

The streak of storms continued to push east into Mississippi with severe thunderstorm warnings and hurricane warnings issued by several National Weather Service offices. On the plus side, this storm system wasn’t surprising. In fact, every area that experienced storms had some warning. The entirety of Mississippi was at moderate risk of experiencing severe weather from the storm forecast center prior to the system’s arrival, and were subject to areas of particular interest several days earlier.

As the severe weather season continues to intensify over the next few months, we will likely continue to see more severe storm systems moving throughout parts of the Midwest and Southeast.

Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with this week’s storms, Mother Nature can be unforgiving. Many of the same areas that were hit by severe storms and hurricanes just a week ago were once again at risk of more severe weather this past week.

It’s easy to think you’d never be affected by a hurricane, but it’s a reality for all of us who live in Missouri. Make sure you have preparations in case you need shelter. As always, also be sure to listen to local meteorologists and local National Weather Service offices so you are aware when bad weather approaches.

Maddie Est has worked as a broadcast meteorologist and marine meteorologist since graduating from the University of Missouri in 2021. She worked with the Missouri Climate Center and conducted research on atmospheric blocking while at the University of Missouri.

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