UPDATE AT 09:30
Schools in Poplar Bluff, Twin Rivers and Neelyville will be released early today in the event of severe weather.
The goal for Poplar Bluff is to begin a staggered release at 11:30 a.m. and get all students home between 1:30 p.m. and 1:45 p.m., before potentially severe weather this afternoon, according to the district.
Specific outing times for campuses can be found on the district’s website and social media, said Dr. Scott Dill, superintendent.
“This thing is going to hit us, it looks like right in the middle of our afternoon haul cycle,” Dill said. “Out of an abundance of caution, after reviewing this, discussing this with EMS for the county, we believe it is in the best interest of our students to get everyone home before this potentially damaging storm.”
The last buses will pick up students from their campuses at 12:45 p.m., Dill said.
“The hope is that everyone will be home by 1:30-1:45 p.m.,” he said.
Twin Rivers car drivers will be released at 11:15 a.m. and bus drivers at 11:30 a.m., according to the district.
Schools in Neelyville will close at 1 p.m. The bus drivers should be home around 2:15 p.m., according to school officials.
8:30 am UPDATE
The potential for severe weather is expected to hit areas of Carter and Ripley counties around 1 p.m. according to the National Weather Service.
A significant storm system is expected to move across southeast Missouri between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. today, said NWS chief forecaster Greg Meffert. Carter and Ripley counties are located in the westernmost area of the Paducah, Kentucky, office area and will see the impacts first, he said.
The system could reach Butler County around 2 p.m., according to current forecasts.
“There is potential for all types of extreme weather, from damaging gusts of wind to large hail and even a few tornadoes,” Meffert said. “The good news is that the window is quite short. In any location, the threats are likely to last around an hour.
Damaging winds of 60 to 70 mph or more, large hail up to two inches and tornadoes are all possible, the NWS reported. Widespread damaging straight-line winds are expected.
Meffert also warned of torrential downpours during this time and the threat of localized flash flooding.
A wind advisory is also in effect for wind gusts up to 40 mph outside of storms until 7 p.m., according to the NWS.
The storm forecast center has the entire area at moderate risk of severe weather.