Finger on the Weather

Storms likely for Wichita, southern Kansas on Wednesday

Dig out your rain slicker, Wichita. You’ll need it on Wednesday.

Much of southern Kansas figures to get wet as midweek arrives, National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Darmofal said. What’s less clear is the timing and severity of the predicted storms.

If rain develops across southern Kansas in the morning, Darmofal said, the storms that develop later in the day will be less severe. But a dry morning and sunny afternoon could see late-arriving storms bring hail as large as golf balls and winds of up to 70 mph.

“Either way, we’re going to see storms around the area,” Darmofal said.

The morning showers are pivotal in defining what happens later in the day, he said, because they would stabilize the atmosphere and use energy that would otherwise serve as fuel for the evening storms.

Otherwise, clearing skies will make the atmosphere less stable and allow stronger storms to develop. Storms are expected to form in Oklahoma and central Kansas and then move east into the Wichita area.

AccuWeather is calling for strong thunderstorms with “downpours, large hail and damaging winds” in the evening, according to its online forecast.

Tornadoes are not expected to be a concern on Wednesday, Darmofal said.

“You can never say never this time of year,” he said. “Overall, the risk for that appears to be low right now.”

Showers and thunderstorms are likely again on Thursday before pleasant weather returns just in time for the weekend, forecasters say.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger