UPDATE: Saturday, April 14, 2012
The day of severe weather in Kansas began early. By mid morning, a tornado watch was issued for a majority of central Kansas, stretching from Nebraska to Oklahoma. Some of the cities affected are Hutchinson, Salina, Dodge City, Garden City, and Great Bend. The watch does not currently affect Sedgwick County.
Thunderstorms began firing off from the Liberal to Hays areas in western Kansas, which also affected areas from Dodge City back toward Garden City and Scott City.
Severe thunderstorm warnings began to develop just after 10:00 a.m in west and north-central Kansas, which quickly moved to the northeast.
Tornado warnings were starting to be issued at around noon in north-central Kansas. These storms were associated with broad rotation, and there were no confirmed tornado reports.
Tornado warnings were issued further south in the early afternoon in the Dodge City area and further south in Clark County near Ashland. Multiple reports of funnels and tornadoes came in from the Ashland and Dodge City areas. All of the warned storms moved rapidly to the northeast.
Check for the latest updates at kake.com or visit The National Service Website.
UPDATE: Saturday, April 14, 2012
Stay aware of the weather today! There is a strong potential for severe weather.
The Storm Prediction Center says a dangerous tornado outbreak is likely this afternoon and tonight in central and eastern Kansas, including Wichita, Hutchinson, and Salina.
Kansas Division of Emergency Management officials said this has the potential to be one of the strongest storm systems that has hit the state in years. According to the National Weather Service, the biggest threat is to the eastern half of the state.
“We strongly urge everyone in Kansas to be on the alert and determine where you go should a tornado or strong storms bear down on your area,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, director of Kansas Division of Emergency Management and adjutant general. “Many events are planned across the state this weekend including sporting events, concerts and proms. Plan now how you will get up-to-date weather information wherever you are, determine where you will take cover, and decide how you will meet up with family if you are not together and phone service is out.”
KDEM personnel will be monitoring weather conditions across the state over the weekend and will activate the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka as needed.
“We have been working closely with the National Weather Service to determine the extent of this storm, and all indications are this could be one of the strongest to hit Kansas in years,” Tafanelli said.
Forecasters at the center in Norman, Okla., say there's a high risk of severe weather from Oklahoma City north to Central Kansas. A second high risk area is in Nebraska. The severe storms are expected to strike Saturday afternoon and evening.
They warn that baseball-sized hail could pummel some isolated areas and winds of up to 70 mph are possible. The Storm Prediction
Center says Saturday's outbreak could be a "high-end life threatening event."
Forecast models have struggled with the speed of movement on this cold front.
By Sunday, the front will push out of KAKEland into eastern Kansas and western Missouri taking the highest severe threat with it. If this front slows down, Sunday could be another severe weather day for central and eastern Kansas.
This forecast will continue to be refined as new model data comes in. Stay with the KAKEland WeatherPlex for the latest on this developing weather system.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.