From staff reports
A tornado watch has been issued for the Joplin area until 10 p.m. today, according to a hazardous-weather statement issued by the National Weather Service forecast office at Springfield.
A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for the development of a tornado.
A flash-flood watch also is in effect for the Joplin area through Thursday afternoon.
Two fronts, one warm and one cold, will bring thunderstorms to the region today and overnight. The fronts could produce 1.5 to 3 inches of rain. That much rain could lead to flooding in low-lying areas.
The storms today will be connected to the warm front. The storms could produce hail up to the size of half dollars, damaging wind gusts up to 60 mph, frequent lightning and brief episodes of heavy rainfall. An isolated tornado is possible.
The development of super cell thunderstorms is more likely to occur in an area west of Missouri Highway 65 corridor this afternoon, the National Weather Service said. If they do develop, there would be a threat for hail the size of golf balls, damaging wind gust up to 70 mph and the possibility for tornadoes.
The cold front will move into eastern Kansas and western Missouri during the pre-dawn hours on Thursday. It could produce 70 mph winds, quarter-sized hail, torrential rainfall and frequent lightning. Tornadoes could be embedded in the thunderstorms.
The National Weather Service said the area could see frost or freezing conditions Friday morning. Temperatures are forecast to fall into the low 30s, which could cause damage to sensitive exposed plants.