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4/14/2008

A Year of Weather Records in the Ozarks

Missouri, USA
This has certainly been A YEAR OF RECORDS in the Ozarks as storm after storm blasted the region. It started with the RECORD tornado outbreaks in January and early February, RECORD-SETTING rainfall in February, the wettest March ON RECORD, along with flash flooding, ice storms, and bitter cold. What a year so far. In the long-range forecast it looks like weather-weary residents in southwest Missouri and northern Arkansas will get a brief break in the active pattern before it sets up again in May. The pattern is
being influenced by La Nina. In January, across a large portion of the central Pacific, sea-surface temperatures were 3-4 degrees below what is normal representing a strong La Nina, while now, the anomolies run 1-2 degrees below normal. While it does not seem significant, it does tell us that La Nina is slowly waning and may entering a neutral cycle in 1-2 months. Above average precipitation can be expected for the period April through June (the chance of this occuring stands around 60 percent based on La Nina Precipitation Probabilities). The trend has been for frontal boundaries to stall right through the heart of the Ozarks and this is where the majority of the heavy rain events have come from...as moisture increases this spring (as it normally does) widespread heavy rainfall events are possible. After all, the next two-three months are the wettest months in this area.

Table Rock Lake crested Saturday at 933.25' above sea level, which is THE HIGHEST THE LAKE HAS EVER BEEN (the previous crest was 932.5' on May 10, 1961) and is less than 4 feet below what the Corps of Engineers calls a "catastrophic level" when the new auxilliary flood gates would also be opened. The lake level this time of the year is generally around 906 feet above sea level and it peaks in June around an average level of 918. Right now it is at 932 feet and heading into the "wet season".

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