Severe Weather Targets Southern US, Ozarks Included

A winter storm system traveling through the area from southeast Kansas brought torrential rains and severe weather to the Ozarks on Jan. 10-11.  The storm wreaked havoc at several locations around the Ozarks, in Missouri and Arkansas.

The thunderstorm brought lightning, high winds and heavy rain as it moved into the area with the strong to severe storm also ushering in a cold front that hit the Douglas County area late on Friday.  Area flooding was also a serious factor accompanying the winter weather. 

The storm front remained strong during Friday’s nighttime hours,  producing damaging winds, hail and several tornadoes. And, as the system passed through our area, it left behind a light wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow, a dusting that impacted most of the local area.  Accumulation was negligible.

On Friday evening, a tornado touched down north east of Springfield, moving into the town of Strafford. The system tracked to the northeast crossing east Division Street, and inflicted damage to areas near I-44.  In Strafford, damage includes several homes, and numerous trees were broken apart or uprooted. The tornado has been listed an EF-1, with peak winds of up to 98 mph.  It was on the ground 11 minutes, and sustained a path for seven miles. 

Another verified tornado touched down on the south side of Fair Play, Mo.  Destruction includes the uprooting and snapping of trees, along with damage to homes and outbuildings. The tornado produced EF-1 damage with maximum winds recorded at 110 mph.  The maximum width of the tornado was cited as 50-yards, with a path nearly nine miles long.  The tornado was on the ground 14 minutes. 

Near Cross Timbers,  a small town community located 51 miles north of Springfield, Mo., an EF-1 touched down a few miles southeast of the downtown area.  The tornado stayed on the ground three minutes, and inflicted damage along a 1.6 mile path.  Winds recorded were 100 mph.  At the site, trees were uprooted, with minor damages to two homes and one outbuilding completely destroyed. 

The National Weather Service reports 10 confirmed tornadoes were produced when the storm moved through Arkansas.  Several tornadoes produced winds reaching an estimated 130 mph, and in Chicot County, near the Lake Village community, one person was reported injured.  Lake Village is located south of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Currently, this band of severe weather  is being blamed for at least nine deaths and widespread damage in the southern part of the United States.  The system’s trail of damage started Friday night, Jan. 10, and continued through Saturday, Jan. 11.