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Science and the Environment

Severe Thunderstorms Cause Damage Across The Ozarks

Brandon VanDalsem

Update:  National Weather Service survey crews will likely be out for a few days surveying damage from Tuesday's storms.  One tornado has been confirmed.  According to NWS, an EF-0 tornado touched down five miles southeast of Purdy in Barry County Tuesday evening.  It destroyed several outbuildings and uprooted numerous trees.  The tornado's width was 200 yards, and it was on the ground for five miles.  NWS meteorologist Drew Albert said there are a lot of damage reports, and it will take awhile to get through all of them.  But he said, "we're pretty confident that we're going to have some tornado tracks down to (the) southwest (of Springfield).  "And then the tracks that go from Ozark to Rogersville, again, we're pretty confident that was a tornado.  We're just surveying it to see the intensity."

Original Story:  The National Weather Service will send survey teams out this morning to determine if tornadoes were responsible for damage that occurred last night in southwest Missouri.

Jeff Raberding, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, said there are seven unconfirmed tornadoes that have been reported to them so far.

"We had a number of storms yesterday that had a potential, so there's probably going to be several confirmed tornadoes that we will look at today," he said.

According to Raberding, several factors came into play last night to cause the severe weather across southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas.

"We had a boundary--kind of a surface front across the area, and then we have a very moist and unstable air mass, and that all combined to produce these thunderstorms yesterday afternoon," he said, "and, really, there was a lot of thunderstorms across the entire area.  They were very discreet in nature to begin with.  We call those supercells, and each one of them was producing severe weather.  A lot of them were, again, potentially tornadic there and then as the evening wore on it kind of transitioned more into a linear type with some wind damage and then, eventually, with all the heavy rain, now we have a lot of residual flooding going on."

He said a lot of low water crossings are closed across the Ozarks.  And power lines and debris may be on area roadways, so drivers need to be careful this morning. 

Several water rescues have taken place, including one at Bull Creek near Branson. 

Roaring River State Park near Cassville was evacuated.

"Obviously, if you're out traveling, any type of barriers or any type of water crossing the road, just don't go in it," he said.  "Just turn around."

Raberding said more storms could form later today, and severe weather is possible this afternoon.  And he added, additional rainfall could aggravate existing flooding problems.

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri Route 125 east of Springfield will be closed between Farm Road 150 and Farm Road 156 for storm cleanup from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Drivers will be able to get to driveways and entrances on either side of the work zone, but they will not be able to travel through the work zone.