ST. LOUIS - After damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes, people often say “it came without warning,” but nothing could be further from the truth regarding the storms that hit Branson and the Table Rock Lake area Thursday evening.
Those storms started in Kansas Thursday morning, producing high winds and large hail. It was clear early on where those storms were going and that they could remain very strong.
At 11:20 a.m., a Severe Thunderstorm Watch was issued for all of southwest Missouri. Then as the storms approached Branson, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued at 6:32 p.m. by the National Weather Service in Springfield, which covered both Branson and Table Rock.
Numerous reports of high winds and damage were coming in along the leading edge of the storms – including a 75 mile per hour wind gust at Springfield Regional Airport.
The dark leading edge of the storm reached Table Rock Lake at 7 p.m., spreading high winds from north to south down the length of the lake. Shortly thereafter, the duck boat was swamped by the pounding waves and sank.
In total, there was 32 minutes of warning ahead of the storms and several hours of heads-up given by the watch.