Tornadoes, baseball-sized hail possible in Wichita area early this afternoon

Wichita residents should pay close attention to weather conditions this afternoon, forecasters say.

Isolated thunderstorms with small hail are possible this morning, but the severe weather threat for Wichita will be highest between noon and 4 p.m. Storms could bring baseball-sized hail and even a few tornadoes to south-central Kansas.

“You just need to watch” the weather this afternoon, said Jerilyn Billings, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita.

The atmospheric set-up doesn’t resemble April 14, when a widespread outbreak brought dozens of tornadoes to Kansas – including one that hit Oaklawn and southeast Wichita – but Billings said strong storms are still possible.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., has posted a moderate threat for severe weather in eastern Kansas today. Wichita is on the southwest edge of the moderate zone.

The SPC warns that tornadoes – possibly strong ones – could well develop from discrete thunderstorms that develop along the dry line pushing west across Kansas.

Billings said the dry line is showing signs of moving more slowly than forecasters had initially anticipated. That will bring the likelihood of severe weather closer to Wichita because it could be in or near the metro area when storms begin to fire.