Storm Event Synopsis

December 31, 2010


Between the evening of the 30th and the morning of the 31st two separate lines of thunderstorms produced significant severe weather across southwest Missouri. The first lifted out of Arkansas late on the evening of the 30th and the second moved out of western Kansas shortly before daybreak on the 31st. In total 35 warnings were issued during the course of these two events, with 2 flash flood warnings, 20 severe thunderstorm warnings, and 13 tornado warnings.

1. Evening of the 30th, early morning of the 31st

A broad band of thunderstorms began to move north out of Arkansas into southwest Missouri after 10:00 PM CST on 30 December. This band of storms initiated well ahead of the dry line and advancing cold front associated with a surface low located over northwest Missouri and eastern Kansas. Between 11:19 PM and 12:35 AM, these thunderstorms produced four tornadoes across Stone, Taney, Christian and Webster counties. The first tornado occured at 11:19 PM 3 SSE of Lampe, MO.  This tornado caused minor damage to two homes and other minor damage, and had a path length of less than 1/4 of a mile and was rated an EF-1.  At 11:26 PM, a supercell thunderstorm produced the second tornado, also rated EF-1, which touched down approximately 8 miles south of Branson West, MO in Stone County destroying boats and docks along the highway DD Peninsula on Table Rock Lake.  Numerous homes experienced minor to moderate roof damage.  This thunderstorm moved northeast into Christian County and produced another tornado.  This tornado, rated EF-1, touched down approximately 3 miles northeast of Sparta, MO at 12:18 AM, with winds estimated around 105 mph and damage to numerous structures. Around the same time, a separate supercell thunderstorm produced an additional tornado, rated EF-0, that touched down at approximately 12:17 AM 2 miles SSW of Indian Point in Stone County. This storm touched down near the damage path of the tornado that occurred at 11:19 PM, damaging buildings, boats, and docks along the Indian Point Peninsula. Numerous severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for these thunderstorms as they moved to the northeast and evolved into bowing line segments. Between 1:00 and 2:00 AM CST, respectively, 0.75 to 1.00 inch hail was reported at numerous times in Webster, Laclede, and Pulaski counties. Wind gusts of 50 to 65 mph were also reported in Pulaski and Wright counties. Through the early morning hours this cluster of storms continued to lift north out of southwest Missouri and into central Missouri and Illinois.

2. Morning of the 31st

There was a lull in severe thunderstorm activity between approximately 2:30 and 8:00 AM CST across southwest Missouri as the previous thunderstorms continued to move north out of the region. Just before daybreak, a second line of thunderstorms across eastern Kansas began to push east into southwest Missouri. This line was oriented just ahead of the advancing cold front and dry line, which was located along a line from Kansas City to just east of Oklahoma City. This line moved slowly across southwest Missouri during the daylight hours of Friday morning, producing the most destructive severe weather of the day (five tornadoes and numerous reports of severe hail). At 7:52 AM, a tornado that originally touched down in northern Carrol County Arkansas crossed the border and was rated EF-0.  The primary damage path was 2 miles north of Blue Eye, MO in Stone County, crossing the intersection of highways 86 and 13.  As the line of thunderstorms continued to move northeast across the Ozarks it produced significant hail, with reports of golf ball to baseball size hail 7 miles north-northeast of Mansfield, MO in Wright County just after 9:00 AM. At 9:43 AM, a tornado rated EF-3 touched down at Fort Leonard Wood in Pulaski County. This tornado did significant damage to Fort Leonard Wood, with several homes destroyed and numerous structures damaged. This tornado had a path of 7.5 miles in length and was 500 yards at its widest point. After the Fort Leonard Wood tornado, a tornado associated with the same supercell was rated EF-3 and touched down northwest of Rolla, in Phelps County.  This tornado destroyed two mobile homes and resulted in damage to numerous structures including the destruction of a two story house, leaving only its interior walls standing. This storm resulted in two fatalities in a single wide mobile home. The debris from this destroyed mobile home was thrown to the southwest against the movement of the tornado.  The Rolla tornado had a path length of 11 miles and was 500 yards wide. The final, tornado was rated EF-1 and touched down at 10:12 AM 1 mile east of Lecoma, MO in Dent County. Three mobile homes were destroyed and resulted in two fatalities in one of these homes. This tornado had a path of less than 1 mile long and a width of 50 yards.

By 11:00 AM thunderstorms had almost completely moved out of southwest Missouri and into southeast and east central Missouri with continued convection across central and northwest Illinois. Severe thunderstorms and reports of tornadoes continued to occur with these storms as it progressed across the Mid-Mississippi Valley.

More information on the storms as they progressed into the St. Louis area.

More information on the storms that progressed into southeast Missouri. is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.