The severe thunderstorm watch, which extends from central Missouri west to Kansas City, was posted until 11 p.m. Wednesday. The flash flood watch was posted from 6 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday morning for Boone County and numerous other counties to the south and east.
A tornado watch was also posted until 10 p.m. for much of north-central Missouri including Moberly, Macon and Kirksville.
In addition, an updated hazardous weather outlook, issued at 3:17 p.m. Wednesday, said severe thunderstorms capable of producing damaging winds, large hail and possibly tornadoes were likely tonight. The primary threat, the Weather Service reported, will be winds in excess of 70 mph, which are expected to move across central Missouri this evening or overnight. Large hail is also possible.
“The thunderstorms we are receiving this morning are just the first wave of storms expected to enter the area," James McNabb, director of the Columbia/Boone County Office of Energy Management, said in a news release.
The Office of Emergency Management has asked residents to review disaster plans for severe weather and stay updated on the latest weather information.
In the event of a tornado, the Office of Emergency Management would activate the county’s outdoor warning sirens, but they 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.