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'Strong tornadoes' possible tonight in southern Missouri, northern Arkansas

A graphic on the NWS website shows where the highest potential for tornadoes is
National Weather Service
A graphic on the NWS website shows where the highest potential for tornadoes is

Severe weather will develop this evening and continue during the overnight hours.

Severe weather including tornadoes, is possible tonight in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.

Mark Burchfield is a meteorologist withthe National Weather Service Office in Springfield.

"Areas, generally from Springfield and points to the east, has that potential for anywhere from some stronger tornadoes to some very large hail and damaging winds," he said.

We could see hail up to the size of tennis balls, according to Burchfield.

"This would be quite a bit larger than maybe some of the previous systems we've had," he said.

Some things that are fueling the storms are the high humidity and warm temperatures the area is currently experiencing, according to Burchfield. Springfield saw a record high of 86 on Monday.

"And so we've got a lot of moisture in place and a lot of heating today that's really going to be one of the main ingredients," he said. "The other ingredient is going to be a lot of wind — a lot of wind shear that's coming in with this system."

He said that will combine to fuel some "intense" thunderstorms tonight.

Since some storms are expected to come through overnight, he said you should have a way to receive warnings – such as an app on your phone or a weather radio.

And know what to do. The safest place during a tornado is on the lowest level in the central part of your home — "any small room or area that can add as many layers or walls between you and the outside," said Burchfield.

If you live in a mobile home, move to a sturdier structure, if possible.

Thunderstorms are expected to develop from 7 to 10 or 11 p.m., Burchfield said, and those are the ones the National Weather Service is most concerned about. Another line of thunderstorms will come through after midnight, and he said those could also be severe.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.