More severe weather expected Tuesday

Apr. 3—While a larger threat looms for areas east and south of Springfield, an elevated risk of hazardous weather will persist Tuesday, from the afternoon to night, for the Joplin region.

Monday's high temperatures helped set the stage for potentially severe thunderstorms Tuesday, according to a report from the Springfield station of the National Weather Service. A line of thunderstorms is expected to move through Tuesday night, with possibilities of damaging wind gusts, hail and tornadoes.

Forecasters place areas with the highest potential for hazardous weather east and south of Springfield, said Steve Douglas, meteorologist with the service. According to a map released Monday by the service, Springfield, Branson and Lebanon are inside an area labeled for a moderate risk, while Monett, Stockton and other cities to the west are at a slight risk. The region for the slight risk extends westward into Kansas as far as Fredonia.

"We are less confident that we'll see severe weather during the afternoon," Douglas said. "From the evening, our confidence is increasing that we'll see storms capable of producing hail and damaging winds. With the timing being in the evening, the threat of hail and wind will be greater to the east of the Joplin area overnight."

The conditions are similar to weather that fueled destructive storms last week across the country. An area of low pressure is combining with strong southerly winds.

Arkansas was among the first states hit by severe weather Friday when a tornado tore through Little Rock, destroying homes and businesses, splintering trees and tossing vehicles. At least five people were killed in Arkansas, including four deaths in the rural community of Wynne, about 50 miles west of Memphis, Tennessee, according to reports from The Associated Press.

Tennessee recorded at least 15 deaths, including nine fatalities in McNairy County, east of Memphis, said Patrick Sheehan, director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

After Tuesday's line of storms pass, the service reported that temperatures will drop toward freezing Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Because of dry air in place, elevated fire conditions could present themselves through the rest of the week.