By JIM MISUNAS
WICHITA — Barton County is forecast to be on the eastern edge of a severe weather outbreak Saturday. The highest risk is forecast to be from Liberal to Scott City on the western edge and Great Bend to Medicine Lodge on the eastern edge.
The forecast calls for a medium risk of baseball-sized hail (2 3/4-inch) and a high risk of the possibility of tornadoes with 70 to 80 mph wind with accompanying thunderstorms.
The National Weather Service in Wichita conducted a conference call with county emergency managers for the possibility of severe storms in the forecast Saturday.
“The National Weather Service meteorologists said that super cell development could be impressive on Saturday afternoon, evening and into the night-time hours,” said Amy Miller, Barton County emergency manager. “There is a good possibility of very large hail and long-track tornadoes with the current weather situation.”
In addition, localized rainfall totals may be two to three inches with these storms.
“It’s great the National Weather Service conducts these conference calls to give everyone 24 hours warning to pay attention to the weather,” Miller said. “It looks like an active day Saturday because the atmosphere is so unstable.”
Flash flood watches are posted for central and southeast Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. In addition, localized rainfall totals may be two to three inches with these storms. Tornado watches have been posted for southern Oklahoma and northern Texas Friday.
Miller said the severe storm center meteorologists are monitoring this situation very closely and have estimated the storms will begin to fire at soon as mid-morning Saturday in far western Kansas.
“Please keep an eye on the weather forecasts as they will be updated throughout today, tonight and tomorrow,” Miller said.
Miller advised anyone planning weekend activities are encouraged to have contingency planning in place due to the development of severe storms on Saturday.
“Sunday storms are not currently being forecast, but as we all know that can change quickly,” Miller said.