Spring in October

Here in the American Heartland, October is beloved for its sunny, mild days, crisp nights, colorful foliage and dry air.  We do not associate this autumn month with balmy conditions, torrential rain and tornadic thunderstorms; of course, there are exceptions.

Thanks to a deep atmospheric trough and its potent low pressure center, a line of severe thunderstorms developed across the Southern Plains last evening, pushed across Missouri and Arkansas this morning and, as of this evening, stretch from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast.  Heavy rains, flooding, damaging winds, hail and tornadoes have created havoc across the region and will push into the Southeastern States overnight.  On a positive note, this potent storm system will eventually deflect Hurricane Gonzalo away from the Eastern Seaboard.

In central Missouri, we received thunderstorms with heavy rain this morning, followed by a balmy, southerly flow ahead of the approaching cold front; the afternoon temperature approached 70 degrees F and, despite the pumpkins and colorful leaves, it felt more like April than October.  As the low moves east of us tonight, "wrap-around" showers are expected overnight before cooler and dried air filters in from the west.  Though we may relish the weather of a "typical" Midwestern autumn, a restless jet stream can remind us that fall, like spring, is a season when the clash of air masses may have stormy consequences.