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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.