Category Archives: Thunderstorms

Expect strong storms later today in Wichita area

Large hail, damaging winds and a long-track tornado or two are possible in the Wichita metropolitan area later today, forecasters warn.

The strong thunderstorms that dumped more than two inches across the city before 7 a.m. have helped stabilize the atmosphere, but afternoon heating is expected to recharge the environment and set the stage for potentially violent weather.

Hail as large as baseballs, winds of more than 70 miles an hour and heavy rain are possible along with a tornado or two, according to the National Weather Service. The best chances for severe weather appear to be south of U.S. 50, or roughly south of a line from Hutchinson to Cottonwood Falls.

The Storm Prediction Center placed a small segment of southern Kansas and a large chunk of central Oklahoma in a moderate risk for severe weather today. Wichita is not included in the moderate, but the counties of Cowley, Sumner, Montgomery, Chautauqua and a bit of Elk are in the elevated risk zone.

Flash flood warning issued for Wichita area in wake of heavy rains

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning until 9:30 a.m. for Sedgwick County in the wake of heavy rain over the past few hours in the metropolitan area.

Numerous reports of vehicles stalling in street flooding have occurred during the morning commute, according to a Sedgwick County 911 supervisor.

“There’s a bunch of them,” the supervisor said. “They’re everywhere.”

West Wichita seemed particularly hard hit, with stalled vehicles reported at Harry and Meridian, the 3100 block of West 13th, the 1800 block of South Meridian and the intersection of 13th and Meridian. No injuries have been reported.

More than two inches of rain fell in west Wichita in about a two-hour span, said Jerilyn Billings, a meteorologist with the weather service. More than two inches was also reported in northeast Wichita near Jabara Airport.

Offcially, 1.43 inches had fallen at the recording station near Mid-Continent Airport since midnight, Billings said.

Rain should taper off later in the morning, but severe weather remains a threat for the Wichita area as well as eastern Kansas later today. Strong thunderstorms packing baseball-sized hail and winds of more than 70 miles an hour are possible, Billings said. A long-track tornado or two can’t be ruled out south of a line from Hutchinson to Cottonwood Falls.

“It’ll be interesting to see how this impacts today’s chances later,” Billings said of the morning thunderstorms. “What’s happening now does play a factor in it.

“It depends on how the atmosphere recovers.”

The Storm Prediction Center has posted a 10 percent chance of tornadoes from the Flint Hills east of the Kansas Turnpike south to near the Oklahoma-Texas border. The western edge of that zone skirts the border of Sedgwick and Butler counties. Wichita is included in a 5 percent zone for tornadoes.

Storm Prediction Center: Atmosphere in Central Plains “loaded gun”

The Storm Prediction Center has expanded its moderate risk zone for severe weather today, saying the atmosphere is so unstable in western Kansas down into northern Texas that it resembles a “loaded gun.”

Large hail, damaging winds and strong tornadoes are possible with any storms that develop, according to the SPC.

“The greatest potential for strong tornadoes this afternoon is expected to develop from near Dodge City southward across the eastern Texas panhandle and western Oklahoma,” a statement issued by the SPC reads. “Swaths of wind damage will be possible with the more intense supercells and bow echoes.”

As the storms move eastward in to the Wichita area, the primary threats are likely to be large hail and damaging winds, according to the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service. Hail could be larger than 2 inches in diameter with some storms and winds could exceed 70 miles an hour.

Tornado watch issued for northern and northeast Kansas

A tornado watch has been issued for 30 counties in northcentral Kansas until 10 p.m.

Large hail and damaging winds appear to be the primary threats from the strong thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service.

“Given the amount of instability, a tornado or two will be hard to rule out,” a weather statement from the agency cautions.

The strongest storms are most likely to from along and north of a line from Great Bend to McPherson to Cottonwood Falls.

The counties in the watch include: Atchison, Brown, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Lyon, Marshall, Miami, Morris, Nemaha, Osage, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley, Saline, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Washington and Wyandotte.

Severe weather threat update

Strong storms with the potential for large hail and tornadoes are possible this weekend around Kansas, forecasters say.

Moderate risk of baseball-sized hail and tornadoes in northwest Kansas, southwest Nebraska

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman has upgraded the storm threat in northwest Kansas and southwest Nebraska to moderate for Saturday.

Forecasting models are suggesting conditions in that sector will support the development of tornadoes and large hail – as big as baseballs in some cases.

Among the cities included in the moderate are Hays, Stockton, Colby, Hill City, Atwood and Norton.

Suzanne Fortin, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service in Wichita, said she wouldn’t be surprised if the moderate zone for Saturday is eventually increased to include Russell and Rush counties in central Kansas.

Severe thunderstorm watch for central Kansas – including Wichita

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for 28 counties in central Kansas until 11 p.m.

Wichita, Hutchinson, Pratt, Russell, Salina, Wellington, Dodge City, Great Bend and Newton are included in the watch area.

Counties in the watch Barber, Barton, Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Ellis, Ellsworth, Ford, Harper, Harvey, Hodgeman, Kingman, Kiowa, Lincoln, McPherson, Meade, Ness, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Rush, Russell, Saline, Sedgwick, Stafford, Sumner and Trego.

Rainfall totals from Wichita area’s overnight thunderstorms

Raise your hand if you were awakened by the thunderstorms early Wednesday morning in the Wichita metropolitan area. I know I wasn’t alone.

Here’s a map showing rainfall totals as of 7 a.m. It was created by the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service.

Officially, Wichita recorded .58 of an inch from the overnight storm. That brings the precipitation for the year to 10.14 inches. That’s 1.92 inches above normal, according to meteorologist Ken Cook.

With rain possibilities in the forecast for the next several days, Wichita could see that total climb nicely.

But Cook added a note of perspective: last year at this same time, Wichita had recorded 13.38 inches.

“And then the rain shut off,” he said.

That set the stage for the flash drought that ravaged crops and prompted cities to set water use restrictions.

Dating back to 2010, Cook said, Wichita still has a precipitation deficit of more than 20 inches.

Severe thunderstorm watch for western Kansas

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for 20 counties in western Kansas until 10 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

Counties included in the watch are Finney, Gove, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Lane, Logan, Morton, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Wallace and Wichita.

Today’s severe weather threat in Kansas

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman has issued a slight risk for severe weather in much of central Kansas – including the Wichita area -as well as portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado and Missouri.

The tornado threat is minimal, according to an SPC outlook, but large hail and strong winds are possible.

Residents should monitor forecasts and conditions and be prepared to seek appropriate shelter if and when strong storms threaten. The National Weather Service in Wichita is projecting the storms to reach the Wichita area after 7 p.m.