A tornado watch has been issued for Sedgwick County.
The tornado watch is in effect for south central Kansas until 10:00 pm CDT.
Also, there have been reports that a tornado touched down in Wichita County, in far western Kansas, around 1:30 p.m.
Earlier updates: 9 a.m.
The Storm Prediction Center reports that a “regional tornado outbreak and long-track strong to violent tornadoes” are becoming “likely” in eastern Oklahoma and southeast Kansas late this afternoon and evening.
The National Weather Service branch in Wichita expects the storms to move rapidly east-northeast at about 50 miles an hour, bringing “significant severe weather” – very large hail, damaging winds and strong, long-track tornadoes. The highest risk area for tornadoes will be along and south of a line from Wichita to Chanute.
Cities such as Hutchinson, Topeka, Newton and El Dorado are included in the moderate risk section of the violent weather map produced by the SPC.
“At this point, it all depends on the timing” of the storms as to where they strike, said Vanessa Pearce, a meteorologist with the weather service in Wichita.
Storms could begin forming in the region any time after 2 p.m., she said. Light morning showers have dampened the area, but partial clearing can be expected late this morning and early this afternoon.
If that happens, the heating will intensify the instability in the atmosphere and strengthen the violent storms expected to develop.
Highs should reach the mid-70s today, with south-southeast winds in the mid-20s and gusting to more than 30 mph.
Monitor weather conditions closely and be prepared to seek shelter quickly. More information on conditions can be found on our weather page.