After a summerlike start to this week as temperatures soared into the 80s, big changes are on the way with an active 36 hours around Mid-Missouri.
Upper level high pressure is beginning to move east, taking the unusually warm temperatures and gusty winds with it. A strong low pressure system over the Plains will send a slow moving cold front into the region overnight into Wednesday. The atmosphere is loaded with moisture as dew points have soared into the upper 50s to low 60s, so the potential for heavy rainfall and flash flooding is high for at least the southern half of the state through Thursday morning.
Scattered showers and a few thunderstorms are expected to move into Mid-Missouri likely after midnight and track east overnight. Storms will become more widespread in coverage through Wednesday morning. Expect a soggy commute in the morning, so give yourself a little extra time to hit the road. Rain will be the heaviest after about 12:00 PM through late Wednesday night.
Widespread severe weather is not expected, however, given the marginal amount of instability and modest low to mid-level wind shear, a few storms could produce isolated nickel to quarter sized hail, along with a strong 40-50 mph wind gust or two. The higher risk for severe weather will stay to our south Wednesday. The main concern will be the flooding potential with high rainfall rates, especially in areas that do see embedded strong thunderstorms.
The axis of heaviest rain looks to stay along and south of I-44, bringing 2-4" of rainfall to these areas. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect through Thursday morning for Phelps and Pulaski counties. Farther north, 1-2" is likely between Highway 50 and I-70, with lesser amounts north of that corridor. Flash flooding can be very dangerous quite quickly. If you encounter a water-covered road, safely turn around and avoid that route. Hidden dangers like washed-out pavement can be covered by water, and just a foot of water can sweep away a car.
Rain comes to an end early on Thursday, leaving us with cloud cover and cooler temperatures until we clear out Thursday night. Chief Meteorologist Jessica Hafner will be tracking the impacts and the timing of storms tonight at 6:00, 6:30, 9:00 and 10:00. Be sure to catch Stormtrack Forecaster Maddie Est starting at 5:00 AM on ABC 17 News This Morning before you head out the door with storms rolling in.