COLUMBIA — Severe weather may threaten Boone County on Wednesday. The Columbia/Boone County Office of Emergency Management has asked residents to review their disaster plans for severe weather and stay updated on the latest weather information throughout the day.
“The thunderstorms we are receiving this morning are just the first wave of storms expected to enter the area," James P. McNabb, director of the Office of Energy Management, said in a news release.
According to the National Weather Service, the anticipated storms Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night have the potential for large hail, damaging winds and possible tornadoes. Central and eastern Missouri, including Boone County, have the highest potential for tornadoes.
McNabb wanted to stress how important it is to stay updated on the latest weather and have a plan in place in order for Missouri residents to be safe, citing last week’s severe weather in southern Missouri as an example of how dangerous these storms can be.
Although there are scattered storms currently in the north, Jim Kramper of the National Weather Service said the severe weather probably won’t appear in Boone County until the late afternoon, when he expects strong storms to form anywhere from 3 p.m. to the early evening hours.
Wind and thunderstorms are the main concern, but tornadoes are not being ruled out as a possibility, Kramper said. The weather service will “have to wait and see how wind develops this afternoon but keeping the option open,” he said.
In the event of a tornado, the Office of Emergency Management would activate the county’s outdoor warning sirens, but it is important to note that the sirens are designed primarily to warn those outside. Those indoors can keep informed by having a weather radio handy or tuning to the local media when severe weather is a possibility. Residents are asked to report all power outages to local utilities and not to call 911 in the event of a storm unless an emergency is actually occurring.
The Office of Emergency Management has a Storm Spotter Activation System in place during severe weather, where trained spotters are sent to areas where storms are having an impact. The system gives critical advanced warnings when storms threaten Columbia and Boone County.