Spring has sprung (as it should)

May 9, 2014 

Weather watching around these parts of Missouri is almost a sport.

In the last week, we’ve had temps dip into the low 40s at night, soar to almost 90 during that 4-5 p.m. timeframe, seen hail threaten our cars and homes, picked up far too many tree branches deposited in the yards by high winds and seen some ominous looking clouds.

Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm watches haven’t been a weekly occurrence, yet.

We still have a lot of spring to go, though. And summer for that matter.

And while we all know the temperatures will settle back down from the above average highs of late, the unpredictable nature of west-central Missouri will always have us watching the skies.

I was born in Iowa, but spent most of my life in the Kansas City area, save a few years working at newspapers in southwest Iowa.

During those few years, I witnessed some wicked weather in the land of corn and soybeans.

Extremes in heat and cold seem heightened in Iowa; winters with 40 or more inches of snow were not uncommon.

And of course, severe spring weather was no stranger to the Hawkeye State.

I was there and covering the awful tornado near Little Sioux that killed four members of a local Boy Scout troop.

Watching the ominous clouds roll through the Loess Hills and into southwest Iowa remind me a lot of our weather patterns here, where often the Jet Stream, cold/warm fronts and other factors will set up storms in Kansas that move northeast right into Cass County.

Storm spotting, awareness of approaching weather and some good, ol’ Midwest intuition will go a long way for us during this severe storm season.

So far, things have been slow. But south of us, many have died as a result of tornados already this year.

And remember, flooding kills more people than tornados each year. In an area with many creeks and streams, that fact should be drilled into all of us and our children every spring.

Respect the weather from a distance and educate on what to do in certain situations – lightning storms, instances of high winds and hail and when conditions are right for tornados.

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