16 Tornadoes, 27 Hours, & A Little Irony

May19 &20, 2017 Missouri TornadoesIf you have ever lived in a part of the world where the weather is mundane day in and day out, it might be hard to imagine how quickly things can change here in Southwest Missouri. Take Southern California for example where the television weather folks are often out-of-work comedians and actors desperate for a gig. They can seemingly record a TV weather segment and replay it over and over for weeks at a time with total accuracy.

Not here. The year isn’t even half over, and there’s probably a lot of new ink in the record books for 2017. It’s not known at this time where the May 19th through May 20th severe weather event will rank compared to past happenings. However, it will certainly be one to remember – at least for a while – with a total of 16 tornadoes confirmed throughout the Springfield, Missouri County Warning Area in only 27 hours along with a bit of irony.

Fortunately the tornadoes which impacted the area were the spin-up type. As compared to the devastating twisters which drop down from supercell thunderstorms, these types of tornadoes are much weaker, smaller, and short-lived. According to the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Springfield, Missouri, this latest batch of tornadoes were the result of several waves pivoting around an upper level storm system as it moved eastward across the central Rocky Mountains. It was those waves, in conjunction with a stationary surface front extending from central Illinois across central Missouri and into south-central Kansas along with a very warm, moist, and unstable air mass that fired off the thunderstorms and the tornadoes.

The average estimated speed of these tornadoes was 87 miles per hour. Interestingly, the strongest and the weakest of these tornadoes happened within a few miles and a few minutes of each other near the Branson area in Taney County, Missouri. The strongest tornado, an EF-1 with estimated winds of 100 miles per hour, hit the Rockaway Beach area along Lake Taneycomo at about 1:30 a.m. on Friday, May 19th. It traveled nearly 9 miles toppling trees and knocking out power all the way to Taneyville. Meanwhile, the weakest tornado of the bunch hit just two minutes earlier in the heart of the Branson Strip. This tornado, a weak EF-0 with estimated winds of around 75 miles per hour, hit the Tanger Outlet Mall and a nearby hotel. Ironically, it was this tornado, the weakest of the cluster, which caused the only report of injuries of this entire event.

We thank Jim, N0UAM, along with all of our spotters for their help during this marathon severe weather event. For a complete list of the confirmed tornadoes from the May 19th through May 20th event along with track maps, please click here.

EF-0 Tornado Confirmed in Newton County

Newton Coounty Missouri Tornado May 11, 2017The National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri is confirming that an EF-0 tornado touched down nothwest of Neosho in Newton County during the early morning severe weather event of Thursday, May 11, 2017. The 100-yard-wide tornado touched down near the intersection of Gateway Drive and Jute Road uprooting several trees and causing minor damage to several roofs and damaging or destroying several outbuildings. Surveyors say the tornado hit at 12:34 a.m. Central Time and only stayed on the ground for one mile. Peak winds are estimated at 85 miles per hour. No injuries or fatalities were reported.

Forecasters say this first wave of severe weather on May 11th was caused when a surface front, initially across northern Missouri, moved slowly southward as an upper level low over the southern Rockies made its way eastward into the Central Plains.  This surface front then stalled as it approached the Missouri-Arkansas border.  A very moist and unstable air mass south of the front set off several rounds of severe weather.  It was this first round early in the morning of May 11th which spawned the tornado.

Later rounds of severe weather during the mid morning and afternoon hours garnered several reports of strong winds and hail up to the size of golf balls throughout our County Warning Area southward into northern Arkansas.

So far there are no confirmed reports of a tornado resulting from a tornado-warned storm which set off warnings in Lawrence, Christian, and Greene Counties late Thursday afternoon. You can find more information on the May 11, 2017 severe weather event from the National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri by clicking here.


April 2017 Warm, Record Rainfall

The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Springfield, Missouri says April 2017 was a month with above normal temperatures across the area and near record to record breaking rainfall throughout Southwest Missouri and extreme Southeast Kansas.

Here are some links to significant weather events through the month:

April 4th, Severe Storms and Tornadoes

April 26th Tornado

April 28th – 30th – Historic Flooding Event

Click the graphic below for more details…

April 2017 Missouri Ozarks Climate Summary

EF-1 Tornado in Barry & Stone Counties

April 26, 2017 Tornado Barry & Stone Counties MissouriStorm survey crews from both the National Weather Service in Little Rock, Arkansas and the National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri are confirming an EF-1 tornado which they say formed last week in Northwest Arkansas and skinned Barry and Stone Counties before dissipating. The tornado formed when a line of strong to severe thunderstorms moved from eastern Oklahoma into northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri during the late night hours of Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26th, the line of storms developed a bowing segment as it was approaching the Arkansas/Missouri state line. An embedded circulation produced an EF-1 tornado that touched down in Carroll County, AR at 1:22 a.m. The tornado spent most of its time on the ground in Carroll County, AR before barely clipping the far southeastern corner of Barry County, MO at approximately 1:34 a.m where it was estimated to be about 1,000 yards wide. One minute later the tornado exited Barry County after leaving a path less than a mile long. It entered Stone County, MO where it maintained its estimated width of 1,000 yards while traveling for about 2 miles before dissipating at 1:38 a.m.

The total path length for the tornado in both Arkansas and Missouri was 16 miles. The majority of the EF-1 damage occurred in Arkansas where the tornado reached a maximum width of 1,500 yards.

The tornado produced a lot of tree damage, but no damage to structures, homes or other properties is being reported. There were no injuries or fatalities.

2017 Historic Flooding Event

April 28-20, 2017 Storm TotalsHistoric flooding continues following a powerful storm system which brought torrential rainfall to the Missouri Ozarks and southeastern Kansas from Friday night, April 28 through Sunday, April 30. Widespread damage, fatalities, and historic flooding have resulted. According to reports from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Springfield, Missouri, storm total rainfall amounts generally ranged from 4 to 8 inches with some areas of far southern and south central Missouri receiving from 10 to around 12 inches. Numerous roads, bridges and buildings were destroyed. Many roads were flooded through the event including state highways and Interstate 44. Several rivers continue reaching major and historic levels.

Here’s a play-by-play of how the event unfolded as told by the folks at the NWS Springfield: On Friday afternoon, April 28th, a stationary front that extended from southeast Missouri across west central Arkansas into south central Oklahoma began moving northward as a warm front. As an upper level system moved out of the southern Rockies, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico began to get pulled northward up and over the stationary front. By Saturday afternoon, the warm front had moved as far north as Interstate 44. As a series of surface lows moved northeastward along the front, it brought with it waves of showers and thunderstorms that brought continuous heavy rainfall across the same area during the day on Saturday. As the warm front continued to move northward on Sunday, the cold front swept in behind it from the west bringing an end to the rainfall.

This event is far from over. Water levels continue to rise from continuous runoff from this past storm. Additionally, another storm is looming and is expected to bring anywhere from 2 to 3 1/2 inches of rain throughout our County Warning Area starting tonight and lasting into early Thursday.

Flash Flood Watches are already in effect. If you live in a flood-prone area, do not wait for a warning to be issued if you observe water rising. Remain weather aware, and be proactive.

Two Additional Repeaters Linked Full Time

Lake of the Ozarks RepeaterWe are excited to announce that Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn now has full time coverage into the Lake of the Ozarks area! The KA0RFO repeater transmits on a frequency of 146.955 MHz. with a standard minus ( – ) offset and a PL tone of 192.8 Hertz from a tower 500 feet above Laurie, Missouri. This repeater serves the entire Lake of the Ozarks region with coverage as far north as Jefferson City, Missouri.

We thank KRMS Radio, Dennis, KA0RFO, The Camden County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA) under the direction of Ron Gentry, and Ernie, W0LTC, for their help in making this link happen so that Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn can use this very wide-area-coverage repeater system to serve the communities throughout the northern and northeastern portions of our County Warning Area. We welcome all licensed amateurs within the coverage area of the KA0RFO repeater to participate in all of our weekly nets and to benefit from this amazing signal coverage.

Additionally, the Boy Scouts of America Post 30 KC0DBU Repeater, which serves the greater Springfield, Missouri metropolitan area from atop Cox South Hospital, is now linked full time into Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn. The KC0DBU Repeater transmits on a frSpringfield Missouri Boy Scouts Repeaterequency of 145.33 MHz. with a standard minus (-) offset and a PL tone of 156.7 Hertz from atop Cox South Hospital in Springfield, Missouri.

This repeater will serve as an inner-city relay for handheld and other low power transceivers throughout the greater Springfield metropolitan area. We thank The Boy Scouts of America Post 30 and Frank, KA0JIQ, the trustee, for allowing us to use their repeater. We encourage and welcome all Boy Scouts who are hams to our weekly Youth Nets as well as our Tuesday evening Training Nets.

For frequencies and an interactive coverage map of all of our linked repeaters, please click here.

Healthcare Facilities HF Test Success

Healthcare Facility HF TestA recent test of the ability of several healthcare facilities throughout our County Warning Area to communicate via HF is being considered a huge success. Under the leadership of Polk County, Missouri A.R.E.S. Emergency Coordinator Joye, N0OCP, the purpose of this test was to break new ground in an effort to test whether direct communications from facility to facility is possible without using repeaters. Every three months, a net is held across the Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn linked repeaters to make sure the emergency radios at these healthcare buildings work and can communicate. While reliance on a linked repeater system makes communications over several hundred square miles possible on VHF, the question that seemed to loom was: “What happens if the repeaters are off the air?” Despite mediocre conditions across the HF bands lately, the use of Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (or N.V.I.S.) on 80 meters proves to be a very reliable way to communicate regionally with relative ease.

A total of 17 healthcare facilities participated in the March 16th drill. In a couple of cases where noise on HF was a debilitating factor, contact was made at nearby home stations which were easily within VHF simplex range to the facility in question.

“We moved our communications tests far ahead of what [we] had ever accomplished,” Joye N0OCP says in a follow-up report.

Looking forward, the use of digital communications on HF is also being considered for additional flexibility in getting messages through when voice conditions are limited or near impossible according to Joye. In the meantime, the quarterly tests across the Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn linked repeaters will continue as planned. Stations not located at a healthcare facility control point are asked to stand by during these test nets which usually occur on a designated Thursday morning in January, April, July and October.

Skywarn Youth on Joplin TV News

KSN-TV Joplin, Missouri Covers Skywarn Youth NetsSouthwest Missouri Regional Skywarn would like to thank reporter Jeremiah Cook and television stations KSN-TV 16 and KODE-TV 12 in Joplin, Missouri for covering our recently-launched Skywarn Youth Net on their evening newscasts on Sunday, April 10, 2017. Featured in the interview was 13-year-old Caleb, KE0FOE, who is one of three young hams who take turns running the Skywarn Youth Nets on Sunday evenings at 7:30 on most of our linked repeaters. The net debuted in early September 2016.

The Skywarn Youth Net is also run on alternating Sundays by 15-year-old Preston, KE0JGH. Both Caleb and Preston recently upgraded their licenses to General. Brad, KE0FGZ, who is a 21-year-old college student majoring in electronic media production, is net manager for the Skywarn Youth Nets, and he also alternates in as net control.

You can read the entire news story and watch a brief video clip online courtesy of KSN-TV by clicking here.

Jeremiah Cook says he’s studying for his Technician amateur radio license. We look forward to welcoming him into our hobby and to Skywarn in the near future.

March 2017: Warm & Stormy

The National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri says that March 2017 was another month with well above normal temperatures throughout our County Warning Area. We had quite a few storm systems move through to bring above normal precipitation for a good portion of the area.

Below are links to several weather events during the month of March 2017.

March 6th-7th – Tornadoes and Severe Storms

March 9th – Severe Storms and Tornadoes

March 21st – Severe Thunderstorms with Hail

March 29th – Tornado and Severe Storms

For more details, click the graphic below:

Missouri Ozarks March 2017 Climate Summary

Boy Scouts Repeater Back On Air

Springfield Missouri Boy Scouts RepeaterThe Boy Scouts of America Post 30 repeater is back on the air in the greater Springfield, Missouri area! The KC0DBU Repeater transmits on a frequency of 145.330 MHz. with a standard minus (-) offset and a CTCSS tone of 156.7 Hz. from atop Cox South Hospital. Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn N0NWS repeater trustee Mike, N0NQW says the Boy Scout’s 2 meter repeater suffered equipment failure and was off the air for some time. Using some spare equipment from the 145.49 repeater, the Boy Scouts Repeater is now back on the air.

In an effort to further its mission of encouraging youth in amateur radio (which is essentially the same mission of the Skywarn Youth Net on Sunday evenings), the KC0DBU Boy Scouts Post 30 Repeater plans to link fulltime with the Southwest Missouri Regional Skywarn linked repeaters. This repeater will provide improved coverage for handheld radios in most of metropolitan Springfield, Missouri along with the southward-flanking communities of Fremont Hills, Nixa, and Battlefield. This repeater will be a helpful compliment to the 145.490 Fordland Repeater which can be difficult to access on handhelds from inner city locations due to multipath and other challenges inherent to radio operation in urban areas. You can view the predicted coverage contour of the KC0DBU repeater using our Repeater Coverage Map.

The newly-restored Boy Scouts of America Post 30 repeater along with the soon-to-be-linked Laurie, Missouri repeater (mentioned above) and the forthcoming N0NWS repeater in Macomb, Missouri (read the earlier story here) makes three repeaters that you should program into your radios.

To make it easier, here is a quick listing of these new Skywarn-affiliated repeaters’ frequencies, CTCSS tones, and locations:
146.955 MHz. ( – )  192.8 Hz.  (Laurie, MO: Camden & Morgan Counties)
145.330 MHz. ( – )  156.7 Hz.  (Cox South Springfield, MO: Greene & Northern Christian Counties)
146.745 MHz. ( – )  136.5 Hz.  (Macomb, Missouri: Wright & Douglas Counties)