Category Archives: Hail

Strong thunderstorms – some with large hail – possible later today in Wichita area

Scattered thunderstorms are likely this afternoon and evening in the Wichita metropolitan area, forecasters say, with large hail possible in the strongest storms.

The strongest storms are most likely to develop along the Kansas-Oklahoma border, according to the National Weather Service. Hail the size of golf balls and winds of up to 60 miles an hour are possible with these storms.

Monitor weather conditions closely and be prepared to take shelter as needed.

Storm spotter training schedule set for Wichita area

Yes, the snow flurries and temperatures and wind chills remind us that winter is still in full force these days, but spring isn’t that far off.

One reminder of that is the arrival of the schedule for storm spotter training classes in the Wichita area. The National Weather Service has posted its schedule of storm spotter classes on its website.

The first class is Feb. 11 in Sedan and the last is April 11 in Wichita. That final session, along with meetings on April 3 in Salina and April 9 in Parsons, are advanced sessions. Those wishing to go to those talks are encouraged to attend one of the basic talks earlier in the spring.

The “basic” talk for Wichita will be held March 5 at Northwest High School.

The basic talks cover thunderstorm development, storm structure, the features to look for and where to find them. The audience is also taught how, what and when to report information.

Basic severe weather safety is covered in the presentation as well.

All classes are free and open to the public.

Heavy rain, isolated hail hit Wichita overnight

More than 3 inches of rain has fallen in parts of northern and western Wichita overnight, spawning thousands of power outages.

Isolated hail – including one report of stones the size of golf balls – was also reported as a potent storm formed in the Wichita metropolitan area and then churned northeast toward Topeka.

“It developed right over us, really, and gave us a good bit of rain,” said Scott Smith, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wichita.

The northern half of the city generally received between 2 and 3 inches of rain, Smith said.

“There’s probably some isolated 4 inches,” based on what Doppler radar is indicating, he said.

An off-duty weather service meteorologist who lives in far west Wichita reported 3.08 inches. The official rainfall total at the weather service office next to Mid-Continent Airport was 1.17 inches shortly after 7 a.m., Smith said. Jabara Airport in northeast Wichita recorded 1.5 inches.

Some parts of south Wichita and the metropolitan area only received about a half-inch of rain, Smith said.

The strong late-night storms knocked out power to thousands of Westar Energy customers for a short time. More than 4,000 customers were without electricity at one stage late Tuesday night, but the number of outages was listed at 275 at about 7:30 a.m. on the utility’s web site.

The weather service received more than a half-dozen reports of hail in Wichita, Smith said. Most of it was less than an inch in diamater, though one person reported golf ball sized hail 2 miles northwest of downtown – or about 13th and Zoo Boulevard.

More rain is expected periodically in the Wichita area through Friday, Smith said, but at this point no more heavy rain is anticipated.

Moderate risk for severe weather in central Kansas

The Storm Prediction Center has posted a moderate risk of severe weather for much of central Kansas today, and Wichita is included in the slight risk area.

The tornado threat has diminished for most of Kansas from earlier projections, though large hail remains a possibility for those areas where storms develop and move.

Strong thunderstorms possible in Wichita later today, tonight

Potent thunderstorms are expected in the Wichita area later today and tonight – but forecasters say there’s only a slight chance for tornadoes in this area.

The Storm Prediction Center has posted a slight risk for portions of eight states, including Kansas:

The SPC warns that storms today could produce “perhaps a couple tornadoes.” Jim Caruso, a meteorologist with the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service, said the better chance for tornadoes is in northern Kansas and southern Nebraska.

Wichita’s primary threats, he said, will be large hail and strong winds. Some hail could be 2″ in diameter, which would be larger than golf balls.

“If they’ve got some outdoor plans late this afternoon and evening, it’s something to keep an eye on,” Caruso said.

The best chance of storms in the Wichita area will be between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. Highs today should reach the upper 80s. Storms could linger past sunrise on Sunday, too.

Map showing today’s storm threat

Here’s a map produced by the National Weather Service depicting today’s storm threat.

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.

Wichita in the cross hairs as tornado outbreak looms on the Great Plains

A widespread outbreak of large tornadoes is expected across the central Great Plains today, stretching from Oklahoma to Nebraska and covering most of central and eastern Kansas.

Here is a map showing the Storm Prediction Center’s latest outlook for today.

“The risk is about as high as it gets,” AccuWeather.com chief meteorologist Elliot Abrams said in a prepared statement.

Oklahoma City and Wichita lie in the heart of the tornado threat area that extends from near Wichita Falls, Texas, to near Omaha, Neb. Abrams expects numerous damaging thunderstorms to form after 4 p.m. and continue through much of the night. This outbreak could produce dozens of tornadoes.

A hazardous weather outlook statement from the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service is predictably ominous:

“An outbreak of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes appears likely across the area for this evening and tonight. Some of the tornadoes could be strong and long-lived with a good chance that they will continue well after sunset this evening, when they will be difficult to see. There is also a good chance that the isolated supercell thunderstorms will produce baseball size hail and damaging winds to 70 miles per hour. The highest threat for strong tornadoes exists along a line from Salina to Newton to Wichita to Wellington.

AccuWeather Vice President Mike Smith offers insight on today’s storms. He’s saying storms could begin developing as early as noon, so prepare early and be vigilant.

Severe weather threat increases for Wichita area Saturday

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., has increased the risk for severe weather in large portions of Kansas and Oklahoma to ‘moderate’ on Saturday. The Wichita metropolitan area is included in the heightened risk zone, along with Salina and Hutchinson.

Abundant moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, afternoon heating and plenty of atmospheric instability will all be present in the zone currently listed as ‘moderate.’

“These factors combined with fast storm motions suggest the potential for long-tracked strong tornadoes occurring from the afternoon through the evening – including after dark” on Saturday, SPC forecasters report.

Kansas counties inside the moderate include Harper, Kingman, Reno, Saline, Marion, Chase, Harvey, Butler, Sedgwick, Cowley, Sumner, Elk, Greenwood, McPherson and Chautauqua.

The National Weather Service in Wichita cautions that strong thunderstorms are possible on Friday afternoon and evening as well.

“Supercell type storms will be possible from Friday afternoon through Saturday night,” a hazardous weather statement issued by the weather service states. “The main threats will be very large hail of 2 inches in diameter or greater, damaging winds and possibly a strong tornado or two.”

The SPC has Wichita and a large portion of eastern Kansas in a slight risk for severe weather on Friday.

The Wichita branch of the weather service has posted a web briefing on the hazardous weather threat coming over the next few days. Monitor forecasts and conditions closely, and be prepared to take shelter as needed.

Damage reports adding up in the Wichita metropolitan area

Strong winds caused damage in several counties east of Wichita late Monday afternoon and into the evening.

Jabara Airport in northeast Wichita clocked a 67 mile-per-hour wind gust at 4:11 p.m., National Weather Service reports state. In Andover, Butler County Emergency Management reported a roof being torn off a building and cars being moved around in a parking lot just after 4:15 p.m.

A shed was damaged and blown into the road at U.S. 400 and Santa Fe Lake Road 6 miles east of Andover just before 4:30 p.m.

The El Dorado exit on the Kansas Turnpike clocked 60 mph winds just before 4:40 p.m. In the Montgomery County town of Caney, walls of an old garage were blown down and roofs were torn off a barn and another outbuilding at about 5:45 p.m., according to the weather service.

Pea- and nickel-sized hail reports were widespread throughout the Wichita metropolitan area, the National Weather Service reports. Hail one inch in diameter was reported just a mile east-southeast of Wichita shortly after 4 p.m.

Most of the hail was soft and mushy, weather officials said.