Monthly Archives: May 2009

More sun, more wind for Wichita

Skies will be sunny today with highs in low 80s for Wichita – but what people may notice most is the wind.

South winds in the teens will gust above 30 miles an hour.

Wednesday may seem like a case of deja vu, forecasters say, with sunny skies, highs in the low 80s and gusty south winds.

Warm and sunny for Wichita today

A welcome break from stormy weather continues today for the Wichita area.

Sunny skies with hearty south winds and highs in the upper 70s are expected for Wichita. The winds will be in the teens, with gusts to near 30 miles an hour.

Tuesday will be similar to Monday, forecasters say, with highs in the low 80s and south winds that should be slightly more robust, with gusts above 30 mph.

Storm threat intensifies for Wichita area

The Storm Prediction Center has upgraded the severe weather threat to a moderate threat for southcentral and eastern Kansas, along with portions of northwest Missouri.

The SPC warns that “persistent supercell threat with possible tornadoes” is possible in central and eastern Kansas through the early evening. The storms could evolve into a line of thunderstorms with strong winds and heavy rain later tonight.

Strong storms – including possible tornadoes – likely today in Wichita area

Strong thunderstorms capable of heavy rain, large hail and even tornadoes are expected to develop in central Kansas this afternoon, forecasters warn.

The strongest storms may be capable of “hail to baseball size…winds gusts to 80 mph and a tornado or two,” according to the National Weather Service.

Highs under mostly cloudy skies should reach the mid-80s, with gusty south winds climbing above 30 miles an hour.

Severe weather will remain a threat through midnight, forecasters say.

Stay tuned to forecasts and conditions, especially this afternoon and evening.

Brief tornadoes southeast of Wichita Wednesday evening

Two tornadoes touched down southeast of Wichita Wednesday night, but weather officials say the touchdowns in rural areas were so brief there are no plans to look for a damage path.

Chance Hayes, warning coordination meteorologist for the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service, said one tornado touched down south of Cambridge in Cowley County and one south of Chetopa in Labette County.

“I haven’t heard of any damage reports” from the tornadoes, Hayes said.

The tornadoes were among 6 reported in Kansas and 23 overall around the country Wednesday night. Three people were killed in northern Missouri by tornadoes.

Of the other tornadoes reported in Kansas, two were in Bourbon County and two in Coffey County.

A pleasant day between the storms for Wichita

Warm temperatures and splotches of sunshine will highlight a pleasant day in the Wichita area today, forecasters say.

Highs should reach the low 70s under partly sunny skies today. Light breezes in single digits will shift from the northeast to the southeast during the day.

Thunderstorms are possible again late tonight, with strong storms possible south of a line from Wellington to Iola, the National Weather Service reports. Those storms could produce hail as large as nickels.

Friday is shaping up to be similar to Wednesday, with strong storms firing up late in the afternoon in the Wichita area.

A graphical depiction of coming storms

The National Weather Service has posted a graphic showing the anticipated location of severe weather later today. It reaffirms what I was told earlier today.

Hopefully El Dorado and other parts of Butler County still recovering from last week’s derecho won’t be hit too hard.

Storms today should miss Wichita – but just barely

With the cold front already “right on Wichita’s doorstep” at 2 p.m., and storm initiation not expected to begin for another couple of hours, the metropolitan area looks poised to escape the worst of the severe weather expected in the region tonight, National Weather Service meteorologist Robb Lawson said.

“It’s going to be close, though,” Lawson said. “Our best guess right now is that Wichita should be on the back edge of it.”

The first storms should fire up on the northern edge of the front near Emporia, Lawson said, and gradually fill in to the south. Storms may well develop so close to Wichita that residents will be able to see them to the east. But because the front is moving east-southeast, those storms won’t threaten the city.

The storms are likely to produce heavy rain – short-term rates of up to 2 inches an hour, Lawson said – along with hail and strong winds. That’s not good news for southeast Kansas, which is already saturated from recent rains.

Conditions favor tornadoes in several Midwestern states today

The Storm Prediction Center has posted a moderate risk for severe weather spanning portions of several Midwestern states today: Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois.

Supercell thunderstorms capable of very large hail and strong tornadoes could develop in Missouri and southern Illinois, forecasters caution.

The atmosphere in Kansas and Oklahoma will be very moist and unstable as well, promoting the development of large, slow-moving thunderstorms. Heavy rain and hail are the primary threats, but the SPC warns “some potential will also exist for isolated tornadoes…mainly after dark.”

Given the timetable provided for local forecasters, that threat seems most likely for southeast Kansas – not the Wichita area.

Strong storms to threaten Wichita this afternoon

A sunny, sultry morning will set the stage for severe weather this afternoon and evening in and east of the Wichita metropolitan area.

Forecasters say severe thunderstorms are expected to develop late this afternoon along the Kansas Turnpike and move east.

“With the atmosphere being very unstable, the storms should intensify quickly and become severe,” the weather service’s hazardous weather outlook states.

Severe storms are most likely east of I-35, with the primary threats being damaging downburst winds and heavy rain. Golf ball or larger sized hail will also be possible from the strongest storms.

“A brief and isolated tornado can not be ruled out, but tornadoes are not expected to be the main threat,” the outlook warns.

Highs today should reach the low 80s, with gusty winds shifting from the south to the northwest later in the day.