The weekend’s snow, ice and record cold have had effects that tumbled into the week.
School was canceled across the area Monday because of low wind-chill readings in the morning.
Also, state officials said the continued cold weather is part of the reason today’s scheduled statewide tornado drill has been pushed back to 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
The city of Independence plans to have its regular outdoor siren testing at 11 a.m. Wednesday, as it does the first Wednesday of every month.
Those events help make sure the equipment is working well, and they help with public awareness, but officials stress that those sirens are designed to be heard only by those outdoors. That’s the kind of information officials like to underline during Severe Weather Awareness Week, which in Missouri is this week. Officials are trying to heighten awareness of the dangers of thunderstorms, lightning, flooding and tornadoes.
They point out that the thunderstorm-and-tornado season is not far off. Although most tornadoes come in April, May and early June, they can run from December into spring, and there’s another severe weather season in early fall.
Of course, the weather can be fluky at many times of the year. At one point late Saturday night, as the sleet and snow rolled across the metro area, there was a 50-degree spread in temperatures in Missouri – zero in the northwest corner and 50 in the south-central areas along the Arkansas border. There have been at least a couple of times in recent years when one part of the state has had a tornado watch – a warm-weather event – while another has a blizzard or winter storm advisory.
We’re getting a bit of that merry-go-round now. Today’s high should be above freezing, and it could hit 50 on Friday. That’s in sharp contrast to the weekend. On Sunday, the low was 5 degrees above zero, a record. Official Kansas City weather records go back to 1889, and until Sunday nothing in the single digits had ever been recorded in March.
It was 13 degrees on March 6, 1899. It was 12 degrees on March 4 and again March 5 in 1960. The record had been 11, on March 4, 1978.
The only National Weather Service SkyWARN presentation set for Eastern Jackson County this spring is at 7 p.m. Thursday at Crown Pointe Church, 5950 N.E. Lakewood Way in Lee’s Summit. It’s free and open to the public. A Weather Service meteorologist will discuss severe weather, storm spotting and weather safety.
Safety officials also advise everyone to have a NOAA weather radio and a good supply of emergency items – water, food, blankets, first-aid kit, among other things – on hand. Get started at www.preparemetrokc.org.