A tornado watch has been issued for the Kansas City area until 10 p.m. Thursday as a storm front moves in from the southwest.
Damaging storms and heavy rains will be possible Thursday night as an expected outbreak of severe storms and tornadoes in parts of Kansas reach the area.
The tornado threat in the Kansas City area will not be as high as it is for areas farther west, but a few tornadoes are possible, especially across eastern Kansas, according to the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, Mo.
An outbreak of severe storms and tornadoes is expected over parts of central and southern Kansas late Thursday afternoon, including the Dodge City and Wichita areas, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.
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Officials said a tornado touched down in a rural area of southwestern Oklahoma on Thursday with no injuries or damage reported.
Jackson County Emergency Management Director Wayne Cain says the tornado touched down near the town of Duke, about 130 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.
The storm activity is expected to weaken somewhat as it approaches parts of eastern Kansas and western Missouri, including the Kansas City area, late Thursday into early Friday.
The storms, however, will be capable of producing strong winds of up to 70 mph, very large hail of up to 2.5 inches in diameter, and torrential rains of up to 2 inches in some spots, according to the National Weather Service.
The storms are expected to reach the Kansas City area between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. The earlier the storms arrive, the more severe the weather is expected to be, according to the National Weather Service.
There’s also a chance that storms could develop in the Kansas City area ahead of the line of storms. Any storms that develop before dark could quickly become severe with very large hail and a possible tornado. The threat for the early storms, however, appears low, according to the National Weather Service.
Because of the possibility of severe weather, the National Weather Service urged people to keep an eye the weather Thursday and to check its Facebook page for updated information.
On Friday, there could be several rounds of strong to severe storms across much of the area. These storms could begin as early as mid-afternoon and last late into the overnight hours.
The severity of the storms depends on whether clouds and rain hang around for much of the day Friday. If temperatures rise to the lower 80s, the threat of severe weather increases, according to the National Weather Service.
The main threat from these storms is very large hail in the afternoon and evening and then strong winds after dark and overnight. The tornado threat appears low, but any storms developing south of Interstate 70 during the afternoon could produce a tornado or two, according to the National Weather Service.
The Kansas City area could see flash flooding from the heavy rainfall that is possible. Total rainfall amounts will be at least 1 inch in most areas and up to 4 inches in a few spots.