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Science and the Environment

Conditions Bring Wind Gusts to Near 50 MPH in Ozarks

Scott Harvey
Small trees lean sharping amid heavy wind gusts on the Missouri State University campus Thursday.

Wind gusts close to 50 miles per hour across much of the Ozarks Thursday has made travel less than ideal and has officials urging caution.

“There’s a low pressure system out to our northwest across the northern plains and that deepening low pressure is causing a pressure gradient across our area. So basically the difference between high pressure  and low pressure is causing the wind to cross our area,” explains Mike Griffin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield.

He says minus any severe weather, winds of this nature can sometimes occur as the seasons change.

“The last time we’ve seen winds kind of this gusty was probably Veterans Day last year, early November of last year. On occasion we do get these storm systems that we can get these gusty winds because of the changing of the seasons.”

A red flag warning remains in effect for the region through 9 pm Thursday, meaning there’s a high risk for fire danger.

“The combination of gusty winds and relatively dry air mass that’s causing the red flag conditions,” he says.

As of 3 pm, Griffin says the strongest wind gust measured at the Springfield airport was 45 mph. Out west near Joplin and Neosho gusts were closer to 50 mph, he said.

He encourages motorists operating high profile vehicles along east or west roadways this evening to be cautious of heavy crosswinds.

He says wind gusts will relax a bit heading into this evening. Wind gusts tomorrow are projected to top out in the 30s. Meanwhile, warmer temperatures remain, with lows Thursday in the mid-50s and highs Friday of around 70.