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Strong cold front to bring windy conditions, storms and return of winter

Lately, many Mid-Missourians have been finding themselves reaching for short sleeves instead of winter coats. Unusually warm conditions have permeated across the state, leading to a spring tease for all of us, despite the calendar saying it’s December. While many have been begging for winter, others have enjoyed the warm temperatures, despite them flirting with records. Records are likely to be set tonight into tomorrow afternoon, ahead of a strong cold front that will bring the return of winter to a good portion of the country.

Ahead of the cold front, a tightening pressure gradient is leading to some very windy conditions not only tonight, but Monday. These winds, in conjunction with overcast skies, will aide in keeping us on the warm side through Sunday night.

Winds gusting at times up to 25 mph through the night will continue to pump in more warmth and moisture, with lows only falling into the upper 50s. It’s likely many areas in Mid-Missouri will set a new warmest low by Monday morning, with the current record sitting at 58 set in 2001 in Columbia.

That’s not the only time we’ll be flirting with records, as Monday will bring the return of the warmth even with the clouds in place. The record high of 70, set in 1933 could be in jeopardy, as strong southerly flow will warm temperatures into the upper 60s, ahead of the approaching cold front.

This frontal boundary will bring some beneficial rain to Mid-Missouri along with the return of winter by Tuesday morning. As the frontal boundary pulls through Mid-Missouri we’ll likely see a few strong thunderstorms, with the main threat being damaging winds. Winds aloft are likely to be pulled down in the downdraft, which will lead to the threat for damaging winds.

While the rain will be beneficial to the region, it really won’t put a dent in the rainfall deficit that we’re currently experiencing. Most locations will see up to a quarter inch, with isolated spots squeezing out half an inch. The highest amounts will be near I-44, where more moisture will be available for the front to interact with.

Once the frontal boundary clears Mid-Missouri, we’ll see several cold fronts bring the return of winter. A blocking ridge to the west will displace Arctic air to the south, which will come in waves through the rest of the week into the weekend. By Friday we could even see a little bit in the way of some flurries to light snow.

Stay with ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather as we continue to monitor the changing weather patterns and follow us on Twitter @ABC17Stormtrack.

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