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Tornadoes can't be ruled out as storms threaten Wichita, central Kansas

Incredible drone footage shows massive storm in Kansas

Drone footage shows a storm in Hutchinson, Kansas, on May 2, 2018. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across the state.
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Drone footage shows a storm in Hutchinson, Kansas, on May 2, 2018. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across the state.

Strong storms are possible across a broad swath of Kansas on Tuesday — including the Wichita area.

While the most likely elements of the storms are expected to be large hail and damaging winds, "a few tornadoes can't be ruled out," said Andy Kleinsasser, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita.

"Your cloud bases are a little on the high side for a widespread outbreak," he said.

Isolated supercell thunderstorms are expected to develop in central Kansas early in the event, according to the Storm Prediction Center, with storms congealing into clusters as the evening unfolds.

The storms will strike generally along and west of I-135, forecasters say, with the highest tornado threat in southern Kansas roughly between Coldwater and Medicine Lodge.

Storms are expected to reach the Wichita area after 7 p.m., according to weather service forecasts.

An outflow boundary that set up in the Wichita area after the storms early Tuesday is something of a wild card, Kleinsasser said. If it intersects with the dry line approaching from western Kansas, that could increase tornado potential.

The storms that moved through overnight dropped 0.34 of an inch of rain at the official recording site in southwest Wichita.

"It came pretty quick," Kleinsasser said.

The same storm system dumped nearly a foot of rain in parts of northwest Kansas over the weekend, causing flash flooding.

A large, wedge tornado takes shape northwest of Salina, near the town of Tescott. The storm was one of several that produced tornadoes across Kansas on Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

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