Activity amped up over the Wichita area along an initial warm sector wave, producing heavy downpours and lightning early this evening. This should stay below severe thresholds before the main part of this system and cold front approaches. This is NOT the main event.
Moisture is quickly beginning to spread in from the south, allowing for a key ingredient in tonight’s storm development.
A potent storm system will be capable of all forms of severe weather by this evening. A TORNADO WATCH is now in place for western Kansas until 11 PM CST. Additional watches may be issued farther east later tonight.
Winds will be quite gusty outside of any thunderstorm with gusts potentially to 50 MPH! We have plenty of spin in the atmosphere for rotating storms. The latest update from the Storm Prediction Center has increased our tornado and hail probabilities, especially to the southwest. A Moderate Risk is now in place for parts of southwest Kansas near Dodge City and Garden City.
New storms this evening will form closer to the Kansas/Colorado state line. Latest trends have this farther west which we have noticed for the last several days. Storms will build to the south along the dryline.
We also need to watch storm formation near the Kansas/Oklahoma state line (Comanche/Barber counties) and other storms, if they can form ahead of the main line, out of Oklahoma after 8 PM. The cold front will move from west to east, but the storms will generally have a northeasterly path.
This line of heavy rain, frequent lightning and potentially damaging winds, will move into the Wichita area well after midnight, still maintaining severe status.
Any discrete storm, give the impressive dynamics of this system, may produce a tornado. The line coming in from the west may also create short-lived, quick spin-up tornadoes with an overall damaging wind and hail threat.
As for rainfall accumulation, easily an inch to 2″ of rain will fall in any heavier storm with locally higher amounts. Any flooding will be isolated.
This cold front will create a big difference in temperature across Kansas. We will see the upper 30s and lower 40s early Wednesday morning. Out ahead of the boundary to the East, temps will be in the 60s and lower 70s. Any rain clears Wednesday, giving us a beautiful day.
By Wednesday evening, clouds will build back into areas near and East of the Turnpike which will lead to a few showers Thursday. Temperatures will be more seasonable the remainder of the work week and over the weekend. Dry conditions expected Friday through the weekend and for much of next week.
Storms will continue into the overnight hours, make sure you have multiple ways to receive warnings. The KSN Storm Track 3 weather app is free and is a great resource when storms roll through your area. Our weather team will be here for you on-air and online at ksn.com.
-Chief Meteorologist Lisa Teachman