Flash flood watch issued for Boone County; large hail and tornado warnings possible

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 | 5:37 p.m. CDT; updated 6:35 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 2, 2014

COLUMBIA — The National Weather Service in St. Louis has issued a flash flood watch for Boone County with the potential for tornado warnings, large and damaging hail and strong winds extending through Thursday night.

Columbia will likely have flash flooding in areas, with 1 to 2 inches of rain expected, said Mark Britt, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

"Damaging hail, strong winds and heavy rains will certainly pass through Columbia," Britt said.

The series of thunderstorms and severe weather are traveling west from Kansas City through St. Louis along Interstate 70, spreading to the southern areas of the state, Britt said.

A news release from the weather service indicated that portions of I-70 in St. Louis experienced flash floods Wednesday with depths ranging from one to nearly three inches.

The same areas are expected to receive another 2 inches, while southern parts of Missouri could get up to 3 inches through Thursday.

"Do not drive your car into unknown depths of water," Britt said . "For tornadoes, know what to do — get to the lowest level of a sturdy building and do not be out on the roads."

Most extreme conditions are expected Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon. Southern and southeastern areas of Missouri will be the most affected, Britt said.

A warm front, quickly followed by a cold front, will move through Joplin on Wednesday evening, bringing temperatures to the 60s in Missouri on Wednesday evening, and temperatures dropping into the 30s by Thursday morning, Britt said.

The combination of warm and cold fronts is a catalyst for severe weather and thunderstorms, Britt said.

The weekend outlook is "dry, but with lower temperatures," Britt said. High temperatures will range from the high 50s to 60s through Sunday.

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