It came with no warning

Friday, July 20, 2018

For some, the storm that roared through Bourbon County and the high winds it bought were unexpected. Bourbon County Emergency Manager William Wallis said that is because there was no storm warning issued by the National Weather Service or through the CodeRed Alert system.

But Wallis said he hopes people don’t become discouraged about using the CodeRed alert system. Wallis said the reason there was no alert is because there were not enough conditions to warrant such an alert.

He said the National Weather Service provides information about watches and warnings to the CodeRed system, which in turn, sends those alerts to subscribers.

“The wind speeds did not hit a certain criteria the National Weather Service requires to send out a warning,” Wallis said.

He said several factors make a severe thunderstorm: hail, heavy lightning, and wind speeds of up to 60 mph.

Wallis said there was no hail, little lightning, and the wind speed was clocked at 54 mph at the airport and 55 mph at the courthouse. At one point, the wind speed reached 58 mph.

“We were right in the center of it,” Wallis said. “But it happened so quick and fast, we were not able to send out a warning quick enough. Everybody around us got an alert.”

He said Linn County and Vernon County, Mo., residents received CodeRed alerts because those areas also had hail and higher wind.

“Yes, the wind did blow, just not fast enough for a warning,” Wallis said.

He said he does not want people to become discouraged with the CodeRed system.

“It’s a very valuable system and reliable,” Wallis said.

Wallis said this storm was also another example of the importance of having more than one source for weather information. He said there are weather apps available for electronic devices.

He said it is also important to be aware of the surroundings. He said excessive heat, like that experienced Thursday when temperatures reached 100, is a prime ingredient for storms.

“When you see those heavy, super tall clouds, those are the kind that can produce severe storms or tornadoes.

As for the trees that were damaged, Wallis said many of those were heavy-leafed and older.