Daily Archives: 22 April, 2010

Witness report: tornado near Lakin was a mile wide

The Dodge City bureau of the National Weather Service has received a report that the tornado that touched down between Kendall and Lakin earlier this afternoon was a mile wide.

Fortunately, that is a sparsely populated sector of western Kansas – so much so that the mile-wide tornado appears to have caused no structural damage at all.

The same supercell was responsible for a tornado warning until 6:15 p.m. for portions of Kearny, Finney and Scott counties. No tornado was reported with the storm, but weather officials issued the warning because of the storm’s history of producing tornadoes.

Tornado on the ground west of Lakin

A tornado has been reported on the ground 6 miles west of Lakin in western Kansas.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for Kearny County until 5:45 p.m. Law enforcement has received numerous reports of the tornado. Radar indicates the storm is moving northeast at 30 miles an hour.

Deerfield is also threatened by this storm.

Large hail is being reported with this storm. Residents of the area should take cover immediately. Residents are being urged not to wait until they see or hear the tornado, because it may be shrouded in rain.

Tornado warning extended for two western Kansas counties

The National Weather Service has extended a tornado warning for two western Kansas counties until 5 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

The warning covers Kearny County and southeastern Hamilton County. Radar indicated very strong rotation associated with a possible tornado 8 miles southeast of Kendall, moving northeast at 40 miles an hour. The city of Lakin is in the path of the storm.

Residents in the warned area should take immediate safety precautions.

Tornado warning for Kearny and Hamilton counties in western Kansas

A tornado warning has been issued for Kearny and Hamilton counties in western Kansas.

National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated very strong rotation associated with a possible tornado 7 miles southeast of Kendall, moving northeast at 35 mph.

The possible tornado is moving through rural areas of southeastern Hamilton and western Kearny counties.

Tornado chances growing for Wichita and southwest Kansas

Conditions are coming together to support large tornadoes in portions of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and southwest Kansas.

The tornado risk is also increasing for the Wichita area, local forecasters caution. The map below, produced by the College of DuPage for the Storm Prediction Center, shows a 15 percent chance of an EF-2 to EF-5 tornado in the zone marked by red dashed lines. A 5 percent chance of tornadoes (as denoted by the blue line) extends as far east as Wichita and on down into Sumner County.

newertornchances

Clearing skies south of Wichita have fueled instability beyond expectations, prompting forecasters to increase the tornado threat in the metropolitan area.

The greater threat for Wichita continues to be large hail and strong winds, National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Ketcham said, but tornadoes can not be ruled out.

Storm chasers have converged on Childress, Texas, but Kansas cities that should be on alert include Liberal, Dodge City, Garden City, Coldwater, Greensburg, Syracuse and Scott City.

Monitor conditions closely, and go to our weather page for current conditions.

Stage set for “major outbreak” – including tornadoes and strong thunderstorms – today from Texas to southern Kansas

AccuWeather, the parent company of Wichita-based WeatherData, has just issued a statement with some ominous language.

“The stage is set for a major outbreak of potentially life-threatening and destructive thunderstorms over Texas and the southern Plains this afternoon through Friday,” the statement reads.

The situation now through Saturday “represents the greatest severe thunderstorm and tornado threat for 2010 thus far.”

Energy moving eastward should gather moisture, generating “powerful thunderstorms, capable of spawning tornadoes” in Texas and the southern Plains.

WeatherData president Mike Smith said the sector of Kansas facing the highest threat of tornadoes today stretches from Coldwater to Dodge City to Liberal.

“I think there will be a number of tornadoes today” in a narrow band that stretches from the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles into southwest Kansas, said Smith, author of the recently published book “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather.”

AccuWeather’s concerns aren’t limited to tornadoes.

“A significant number of the thunderstorms will bring enough heavy rain to blind motorists and cause flash flooding, winds strong enough to down trees and remove roofs and hail large enough to break windows and dent vehicles,” the company’s statement reads.

“If this were any other year, we would most certainly have an event rivaling some of the most destructive outbreaks in past years.”

But marginal humidity levels, which have inhibited severe storm formation so far this year, will continue to discourage storm development.

“That being said, humidity levels are rising from south to north from Texas to southern Kansas enough to support a number of severe thunderstorms and potential tornadoes,” AccuWeather’s statement says.

“Where this more humid air collides with dry air from the deserts is where the greatest risk of tornadoes exists, namely from western Texas to southwest Kansas and southeastern Colorado through tonight.
The high-risk area will shift farther east Friday, along and ahead of the push of dry air.”

AccuWeather calls this “a very dangerous weather situation,” and urges people from the southern Plains through the lower and middle Mississippi Valley “to treat the weather the next few days with great respect, despite a lack of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes so far this year.”

Much of Kansas faces threat of severe weather

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., has placed most of Kansas under a slight risk for severe weather today.

The tornado threat appears to be limited to the western third of the state, with southwest Kansas the largest section of the state included in that elevated risk.

Weather conditions “will be sufficient to support storom rotation…with potential for more intense cells to produce large hail and possibly a few tornadoes…especially from northeastern Colorado into western Kansas,” according to the center’s outlook for today.

The Wichita area can expected scattered thunderstorms, with the strongest storms capable of dime-sized hail, strong winds and periods of heavy rain.

Stay tuned to conditions, and go to our weather page for more information.

Showers and thunderstorms off and on today and late tonight for Wichita area

Showers and thunderstorms – some of them intense enough to produce strong winds, small hail and heavy rain – are expected to move through the Wichita area today, forecasters say.

The storms are already in central Kansas and moving east this morning. Severe weather, such as tornadoes and large hail, is not anticipated with these storms, but forecasters say the strongest storms could deliver an inch of rain in a brief period.

Highs today should reach 70 under mostly cloudy skies, with southerly winds blowing steadily in the teens and gusting into the mid-20s. Overnight showers are also likely, with a low around 50 and south winds persisting in the teens with occasional stonger gusts.

Wichita could see more showers and thunderstorms Friday morning before the storm system moves east and skies begin to clear in the afternoon, forecasters say. Temperatures should be pleasant, with highs in the mid-70s. Winds will continue to be robust, with steady southerly breezes in the upper teens to low 20s and gusts to nearly 30 miles an hour.

Areas along and east of the Flint Hills could see strong thunderstorms Friday, including the chance for an isolated tornado, forecasters warn.

For more information on conditions, go to our weather page.