It’s no surprise that severe weather is in the forecast in the region on May 22, but it’s somewhat unusual that this particular date has drawn hazardous storms for two consecutive years.
There will be a chance of thunderstorms over the next five or six days, but the day to look out for most is today, according to Jeff Raberding, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Springfield office.
“At this moment, tomorrow (Friday) looks like the best chance for severe weather, but I couldn’t discount that out over the next six days,” he said. “A lot of things hinge on what happens the day before.”
This morning, a decaying line of showers and thunderstorms are forecast to move in from the west that has the potential to produce some low-end severe weather, mainly wind and hail, said Raberding.
“This will be through the early morning hours, maybe rush hour to the midmorning,” he said. “There are still questions about the exact timing of that.”
A severe risk of storms is also possible this afternoon and evening, with all modes of severe weather possible, such as large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes. The NWS reported that a low-end tornado threat can’t be ruled out.
“Along with that will come the threat of heavy rain,” said Raberding. “Obviously, we’ve had a lot of rain lately, and the ground is saturated and rivers are pretty high. It doesn’t take a whole lot to potentially flood.”
Day of infamy
On May 22, 2019, the eight-year anniversary of the Joplin tornado in 2011, Carl Junction was hit by an EF3 tornado that caused major damage in the Briarbrook neighborhood. That storm system ultimately killed three people in the Golden City area of Barton County to the northeast. Today, like every day in May, is another day to pay close attention to the weather.
Raberding said for this portion of the country, May is the peak for severe weather: “The spring is when all of the ingredients come together. As you go later in the year, you get into June, July or August, that threat really shifts to the northern tier of the U.S.”
Joplin’s tornado on May 22, 2011, occurred on a hot, humid Sunday afternoon and produced wind speeds greater than 200 mph. The EF5 tornado killed 161 people and was considered one of the deadliest in the country since record keeping began in 1950, according to the National Weather Service.