From staff reports
JOPLIN, Mo. —
The Joplin area this afternoon could experience possible severe thunderstorms capable of producing baseball-sized hail, damaging wind gusts and a tornado or two, according to the National Weather Service forecast office at Springfield.
Isolated to scattered thunderstorms this afternoon will give way to increasingly severe weather this evening.
The storms will intensify as a warm front “with deep gulf moisture’’ surges north across southern Missouri and an upper-level disturbance with cooler air moves to the east.
Andy Foster, a meteorologist with the NWS office, in a taped recording, said the clashing air masses and sufficient wind shear could produce supercell thunderstorms capable of producing “a tornado or two’’ between 4 and 6 p.m. today in the Four-State Area.
Straight-line winds of 60 mph are likely to accompany the storms.
Keith Stammer, head of emergency management for Joplin and Jasper County, said Friday afternoon that storms forming in the Wichita, Kan., area will likely head east, affecting counties north of Interstate 44 and west of Highway 65 at Springfield.
“This does include Jasper County, but we are on the extreme south edge of that area. The most at-risk area would be north of us,’’ he said.
If the storms form in the Tulsa area and head northeast, Jasper County and areas south of Interstate 44 will be more at risk.
“One thing to watch for is the possible turning of the storms. If they are heading northeast and then begin to turn to the right, the potential for tornadoes increases,’’ he said. “As always, stay alert and aware, using your preferred weather information sources.’’
Storm-spotter activation will likely occur in connection with these storms.
The stormy weather should be out of the area by midnight.