Finger on the Weather

Officials: ‘Strong tornadoes’ possible in central Kansas later Wednesday

The Storm Prediction Center has increased the threat for severe weather in parts of central Kansas for Wednesday afternoon and evening.

The “enhanced” threat features a 10 percent chance of strong tornadoes – EF-2 or higher on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Among the cities included in the enhanced zone are Hutchinson, Great Bend, Salina, Hays, Pratt, Kingman and Russell.

“There could be a strong tornado in that region,” said Jim Caruso, a meteorologist with the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service.

In fact, a large tornado was reported near Lincoln just after 2:30 p.m.

Wichita is not included in the enhanced zone, but Sedgwick County is among 33 Kansas counties included in a tornado watch that is in effect until 9 p.m.

Conditions in north-central Kansas are conducive “for supercells capable of very large hail and possibly strong tornadoes,” according to a statement issued by the Storm Prediction Center.

In southern Kansas, meanwhile, storms will be more scattered. But conditions are “very favorable for very large hail and tornadoes with any storms that form,” the SPC states.

Clearing skies will allow afternoon heat to fuel thunderstorms, forecasters say.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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