A big pre-Spring storm, bringing heavy rains and the potential for flooding, is moving over the area Tuesday and Wednesday making travel hazardous, especially through areas that tend to flood.
On Monday, the National Weather Service had put Carthage in an area where between four and eight inches of rain could fall over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
A smaller chance of rain stretched into Friday, the weather service said on its website www.weather.gov/sgf.
Mike Griffin, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Springfield, said the forecast calls for the potential for severe thunderstorms, with high winds, hail and a chance for tornados to be highest Monday and early Tuesday morning.
The storm is expected to become mostly a rain event after Tuesday morning, with less severe thunderstorms moving through.
“A widespread episode of significant flooding is expected to evolve through Wednesday,” the weather service said in its Hazardous Weather Outlook on Monday. “Three to eight inches of rain is forecast over the area, resulting in flooding of small streams, creeks and main stem rivers. The heaviest rain is expected to occur west of U.S. Highway 65, with lesser amounts over the eastern Ozarks.”
The area could use the rain.
Griffin said Joplin airport ended 2011 almost eight short of normal rainfall for the year and, despite storms in early March, the area is almost 2.5 inches short of normal rainfall thus far in 2012.
“We will get a lot of rain too quickly from this storm,” Griffin said on Monday. “We could handle one round of heavy rain, but not two or three rounds and that’s what we’re going to get. We’ll get a round today, with a break, then a round on Tuesday night with a break, then a round on Wednesday night with a break.
“The storm will develop in waves and quickly saturate the ground, making flooding probable on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Southwest Missouri received almost no snowfall in the winter of 2011-2012, with one storm dumping about an inch of snow in February.