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Old 02-18-2007, 01:31 PM
1,174 posts, read 6,922,910 times
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For the past few months, I've been watching the weather in the area of Springfield and south down towards Branson. I've made certain observations. For those who live there, please tell me if my general observations are inaccurate.

First, I understand there will be variables, but general trends can be established. It seems to me that the weather generally gets more mild as you approach the hills into Branson and the Tri-Lakes area from Springfield. It seems that the winter temperatures are generally a little lower in Springfield/Nixa/Ozark than in Branson/Tri-Lakes. Converesly, it seems that the summer temperatures remain higher in the Springfield/Nixa/Ozark area. Is this a reasonable observation?

It also seems to me that the incidence of tornados is a little higher through Springfield/Nixa than it is in Branson/Tri-Lakes. This one is a little harder to get a handle on since they are less common than daily temperature variations, so if it's not a good statement please tell me. I may also be splitting hairs on this one since we're only talking a 30-50 mile or so difference. What do you think?

Finally, if my weather observation is somewhat valid, is Saddlebrooke close enough to Branson, or high enough in elevation, to gain the benefit of the milder weather south of Springfield? The alternative is that the elevation is still too low so it's more like Springfield. Again, what do you think?

These obseravtions are based on checking the daily temperatures in Springfield, Branson, and Kimberling city. It also seems that the recent ice storm struck hard around Springfield and north, but it didn't reach down to the Branson area. Finally, I've tried to research past tornados, and it seems that they tend to push north of the Tri-Lakes area in a s/w to n/e direction around Springfield, more or less avoiding the more hilly area.

I know my data source is very small and is mostly based on qualitative information, so it might not result in accurate observattions. So, please set me straight if I'm misguided in my general observations.

Thanks again all.
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Old 02-18-2007, 03:19 PM
Location: The Great State of Texas, Finally!
5,459 posts, read 12,189,965 times
Reputation: 2791
Although I do not yet live in MO (but I'm working on it) I think I can offer some answers to your weather questions--my background being that I used to forecast weather in the military.

1. The influencing factor in milder temps in the Branson hills/Tri-Lakes area vice Springfield is topography. Hills will account for some elevation difference, which will shelter Branson from some of the weather that Springfield experiences along with providing milder/cooler temps. The bigger factor is water. There is more water (lakes) in close proximity to Branson and as a rule, land heats and cools five times faster than water whereas temperature variences around a body of water are more consistent. This is one of the reasons why the desert heats so quickly during the day and gets extremely cold at night. Since Springfield is a bit more "land locked" so to speak in comparision to Branson, that would answer for their temperatures being hotter in the summer and cooler in the winter. When I was living in Chicago, it was always cooler in summer near Lake Michigan while the outlining suburbs would experience 10-15 degrees hotter temperatures----and the city would be warmer in the winter where those of us living in the suburbs were freezing our tootsies off.

2. This temperature varience would also account for the number of tornados being higher in Springfield. Again, in order for a tornado/thunderstorm to form, the air must be very unstable and unstable air is classified as cold over warm, meaning the air at the surface is warmer than the air above it. So if land heats and cools five times faster than water, then afternoon heating will account for greater instability. If you look at stats, you will see that a majority of tornados occur in the afternoon hours. The hills of Branson will also act as somewhat of a barrier to tornados as well--topographically as well as temperture wise. Tornados as a rule, DO move from the southwest to the northeast---this is correct specifically when they break off from a supercell thunderstorm.

3. Sorry I cant answer your question about Saddlebrooke. I'm sure one of the locals can help you out there.

I hope this helps. These are very general answers but they do account for the weather differences you've noted within a relatively short distance.

I've posted a thread called "Tale of Two Cities" and so far no one has answered it---since I am trying to move to MO. Do you know offhand where the Richwood Valley area is? I am looking at a position there.
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Old 02-18-2007, 04:45 PM
Location: Ozark, MO
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The cold weather stays north, it especialy seems to know wher Interstate 44 is and stays north of that.

As you get toward Branson, it gets milder.

Springfield, Ozark, and Nixa sit up on a plateau. Its gets really hilly when you get about 10 miles south of Ozark. For that reason, the hill area sees little in the way of tornados.

I would assume that Saddlebrook has temperatures more in line with Branson.

Remember, though, that if the storm is being fed by Gulf moisture, Branson will sometimes get more rain that the northern areas.
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Old 02-18-2007, 05:44 PM
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,815 posts, read 12,955,839 times
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I think it is a bit colder in Springfield than Branson. Like Randy says, sometimes Branson gets more rain coming up from Gulf moisture through Texas, etc.
I remember one night last summer and it was perfectly calm and clear, a moonlit evening in Springfield, and looking south we watched the most incredible thunderstorm lightning display I've ever seen. It was actually just south of the Arkansas line, so even past Branson, and it was lighting the skies up even here. The lightning was simply awesome and nonstop.
This winter is much, much colder than last year and some people around here are saying this is a much more typical winter as far as frequent snowfalls, snow cover, below freezing days, etc. is concerned. The ice storm was a freak for any year. It was just an unlucky thing we got it in Springfield as they had originally predicted snow and the ice to be further south. But then the winds higher up shifted to a south-north flow at high speed and it brought warmth in while trapping freezing air at the surface, so we had pouring ice rain, not just a glazing, put pouring rain that instantly froze upon contact with anything it touched. I believe we had anywhere from 2-3" of rain over those three days and most of it froze.
Branson though is tricky when it is icy as it's hilly. I don't know how people get up the hills without sliding down on bad days. I was grateful it's relatively flat here.
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