Residents of the Wichita area would do well to make use of their garages tonight: strong storms, with large hail and damaging winds, are possible after sunset.
The storms are part of a larger system that could produce tornadoes in the Kansas City area and other sectors in eastern Kansas and northern Missouri, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. Here’s the convective outlook for today:
The more likely threat for Wichita is large hail – at least an inch in diameter – and potentially damaging winds, said Scott Smith, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wichita.
Powerful winds out of the southwest are helping fuel the storm system and send the temperature soaring around Kansas today. Several temperature records could fall around the state, Smith said – including Wichita.
The record high for today is 88, set in 1893, and forecasters expect today’s high to climb into the 90s. The surge in temperatures – Saturday’s high was 79 – comes thanks to those southwest winds, known as “downslope winds” because they are rushing down the Front Range of the Rockies.
Those winds typically result in a rapid warming in Kansas because the air warms dramatically as it reaches the ground’s surface. Speeds of more than 80 miles an hour were recorded in parts of southern Colorado Saturday as the downslope winds developed.
Snow is falling in Colorado and the Nebraska panhandle, a day after temperatures there topped 80, and a cold front will bring dramatically colder temperatures to the Wichita area on Monday.
In fact, the overnight low on Monday could hit the freezing mark.
“It’s a strong cold front,” Smith said.
But the dip will be short-lived, with high temperatures on Tuesday rebounding to the 70s and staying at least that warm for the rest of the week.