After a severe storm blew through south central Missouri Saturday evening, West Plains and surrounding communities are getting a small break from the heat.
A heat advisory that was issued by the National Weather Service in Springfield on Wednesday and set to expire initially on Friday evening was continued until Saturday evening.
The storm began moving into the area shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday with the first severe thunderstorm warning issued at that time for western Douglas County, and continued south and east until about 9 p.m., causing damage from Goodhope in northwest Douglas County to Thayer in southern Oregon County, according to local storm reports submitted to the National Weather Service in Springfield.
Damage reports came in from Douglas County starting at 7:22 and continuing until 8 p.m. Saturday, and included a tree and limbs down on Highway 76 near Goodhope, a downed tree blocking County Road Y-521 just west of Ava and wind speed estimated to be about 60 mph, a tree blocking P Highway southeast of Ava, and a report from the Eastern Douglas County Fire Department that “numerous trees” were down across the county, including one on Highway 14 a mile east of AC Highway.
Ozark County fared similarly with several trees reported down at 8:05 p.m. near Highway 5 and W Highway south of Gainesville, then 10 minutes later, several more trees reported down by Bakersfield Fire Department in multiple areas: O Highway, Highway 101, Smokey Road and U.S. 160 at Cloud 9 Ranch near Caulfield.
Bakersfield firefighters took to social media to alert the public to stay home until the roads were cleared, posting on Facebook at about 8:30 p.m.
Smokey Road and Highway 101 were clear by 9:20 p.m., and O Highway took a little longer due to phone and power lines being in the road, said firefighters. It was reopened at 10:13 p.m., but with a warning from the fire department to drive cautiously through the area due to limbs remaining on the road.
While no damage reports came from West Plains, a Mesonet station in the city recorded a thunderstorm wind gust of 51 mph shortly before 8:30 p.m., and a member of the public reported a gust of 60 mph near Moody. At the same time, Howell County Emergency Management reported trees down on Highway 142 east of YY Highway in southern Howell County.
In Thayer, at 8:55 p.m. winds reportedly caused several downed limbs and power outages throughout the city.
Hot weather is expected to return today after a brief reprieve Monday and Tuesday, with NWS officials in forecasting today and Thursday to be the hottest days this week.
The forecast shows a 30% chance of thunderstorms this morning in the West Plains area, mainly before 7 a.m. Howell and surrounding counties are considered by the NWS to be at marginal risk for severe storms developing, meaning some of the storms may have the potential to produce gusty winds and small hail.
Daytime highs for today through Saturday are expected to be in the 90s, with a high of 91 today, 96 Thursday and 95 on Friday and Saturday; overnight lows should be in the low 70s.