Missouri’s Climate

Depending on the climate of a particular area, people can find a place conducive for settlement, habitation, commerce, study or work. Areas of extreme climate like the unbearably hot deserts of the Sahara and the terribly cold wastes of Siberia are very inhospitable, offering little or no comfort to humans and animals. Therefore, the climate of a place has direct influence on its development and it has been observed that of the most of the advanced areas of the world have mild or moderate climate which promotes the influx of much-needed manpower. In this regard, the state of Missouri can be regarded as having a climate which has contributed to its greatness.

Missouri has a humid continental climate, characterized by long, hot summers and cool winters. Sometimes the winters can be bitterly cold. The state also experiences swings in temperature because of its location in the interior of the country and the palpable absence of temperature-modifying geographical feature such as mountain ranges or oceans. Thus, the major climate-influencing factor in Missouri is the cold Arctic air swooping down from the Canada and the northern plains. The other factor is the warm air blowing from the Gulf of Mexico causing heavy rainfall. The effect of this geography makes areas in the northwest to be cooler than the southeast.

The state has interesting temperature variations. The hottest period of the year is the summer which usually runs from June through August. During these periods, heat waves like the one in 1980 that claimed over 300 lives are fairly common. The coldest month is January during temperatures can plunge to -2o C (29o F). Interestingly, the coldest temperature ever recorded in the Show Me State was -40oC (-40o F) at the city of Warsaw in the February of 1905. During spring, the mean temperature is about 12oC (54o F) while it is not too different during the fall when it is about 13.6oC (56.5oF). In terms of dryness, the winter with its prevailing northwest winds is the driest period of the year.

When it comes to the rainfall (precipitation), there is a close correlation with the temperature. The lowest precipitation is around 34 inches in the northwest region while the highest rainfall recordings of about 50 inches are usually made in the southeast. There is snowfall from November through April, although most of it is in the months of December, January and February and the heaviest falls are over the northern areas. This piece of information is more relevant to lovers of winter sports.

Furthermore, the state of Missouri has its own share of extreme climatic phenomena such as cyclones, windstorms, droughts, heat waves, snowstorms, cold waves and tornadoes. Tornadoes are common occurrences in Missouri. This is because of the location of the state in the Tornado Alley of the United States. During spring, (March through May), up to 35 tornadoes can be recorded every year. This is in addition to the fact that the spring is the wettest period of the year. On the whole, Missouri has a moderate climate which encourages growth and development.