Finger on the Weather

Tornadoes, hail as large as tennis balls possible west of Wichita

National Weather Service

Severe weather — including a few tornadoes and hail as large as tennis balls — is possible in portions of south-central Kansas on Saturday night, weather officials say.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center has issued a slight risk for severe weather that includes more than half of the Sunflower State, including Wichita and Kansas City.

A statement issued by the agency reports that atmospheric conditions will allow for “a window of opportunity for a couple of tornadoes late this evening” in small segments of Texas and Oklahoma, as well as southern Kansas.

The Dodge City branch of the National Weather Service is projecting the greatest risk for tornadoes to be in Stafford, Pratt, Kiowa, Comanche, Barber and Edwards counties. Greensburg, which next month marks the 10th anniversary of the massive tornado that obliterated the town, is among the cities included in the elevated tornado risk.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for 10 counties in south-central and southwest Kansas until 10 p.m. Saturday. Winds of up to 70 miles an hour are possible along with the large hail and a few tornadoes.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected to move east into the Wichita metropolitan area by late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, forecasters say.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger