Severe storms expected in Columbia

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 | 7:06 p.m. CDT; updated 9:03 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 1, 2014

COLUMBIA — Severe thunderstorms, which could bring hail and tornadoes, are expected to arrive in Columbia early Wednesday morning and continue into Thursday.

The National Weather Service in St. Louis issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Boone County and many others in Missouri and Illinois. The rain is expected to begin around 3 a.m. Wednesday and develop into potentially severe thunderstorms that will continue into Thursday night, according to a release from the service.

These storms are capable of producing more than three inches of rain, strong winds and large hail, according to the release. There is an 80 percent chance of rain Wednesday and a 60 percent chance Thursday, meteorologist Mark Britt said.

The severe weather is caused by a warm front coming from the southwest that will remain stationary over the area along with an approaching cold front moving east to west. The combination has the potential to create severe weather, Britt said.

"Right now with the potential of severe weather this week and with severe weather season upon us, people need to pay attention to the forecast," Britt said. "People should know where to go when a tornado warning is issued and what to do ahead of time."

Although the storms might bring hail and winds, the rain will be needed relief for the central part of the state, Britt said.

"We do need rain because central Missouri is in a moderate drought right now," he said. "As long as it doesn't come too quick and cause flooding, rain would be highly beneficial."

Supervising editor is Elise Schmelzer.

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