Storms Oklahoma City to Kansas City Wednesday Morning

By Anthony Sagliani, Meteorologist
June 5, 2013; 1:17 AM ET
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Another round of locally severe thunderstorms is pushing through portions of Kansas and Oklahoma on Wednesday morning.

The storms will affect Wichita, Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Tulsa during the morning hours. Additional storms developing near the Red River could also become severe.

Damaging wind gusts of over 60 mph will be the primary threat with these storms, but some thunderstorms will contain hail.

There were numerous reports of wind gusts of 60 mph or higher across northern and central Oklahoma early on Wednesday morning as a line of storms moved through.

Heavy rainfall could lead to additional flooding in waterlogged areas of central Oklahoma.

The threat for severe weather will not end during the morning. A new week is underway and another round of severe weather is unfolding, including the risk of a few tornadoes over the Plains.

The overall storm system projected to bring the violent storms to the Plains this week is neither as intense nor as slow moving as that of last week. However, the system is strong enough to threaten lives and property with severe weather, including some of the same areas hit hard by last week's destructive and deadly storms.

The latest information indicates that the tornado, which struck near El Reno, Okla., on May 31, 2013 is the widest tornado on record at 2.6 miles, according to the National Weather Service. Comparatively, the tornado which struck Moore, Okla., earlier in May was approximately 1.3 miles wide.

Storms over the region this week are likely to be much less intense, when compared to last week's monsters.

Late on Monday, severe storms were found from the northern Texas Panhandle northward into western parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Storms that fired over the High Plains on Monday evening formed a complex of severe weather, which survived overnight and rolled across central Oklahoma on Tuesday morning.

Storms then developed across eastern Colorado late on Tuesday afternoon, spawning two tornadoes in Colorado and another during the evening hours in western Kansas.

More severe storms are expected to develop on Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night across the southern Plains.

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Even though this is not expected to be a major outbreak of severe weather, it should be noted that even isolated thunderstorms can wreak havoc on the locations they affect.

The greatest impacts from these storms will be large hail and strong wind gusts. A few of the strongest storms could produce a tornado.

The chance of a tornado will be quite low for any particular area. However, it is impossible to predict in advance of several minutes which local areas will be hit the hardest.

Golf ball- to tennis ball-sized hail can injure or kill exposed livestock and people, damage vehicles and shatter windows. Hail of this size can also destroy crops.

Wind gusts of 60 mph can cause damage to power poles and down trees and large tree limbs. Loose debris can also be easily picked up, and dust can be lofted into the air, leading to low visibility.

If you will be out and about in the alerted area this week, keep an eye to the sky, monitor radars on your smart phone and pay attention to weather bulletins.

Once thunderstorms develop, they will strengthen quickly, and dangerous conditions could follow soon after.

Storms at the local level can cause incidents of flash and urban flooding. Additional rainfall onto area streams and rivers can lead to new rises on the waterways.

Current technology has advanced enough over recent years to provide ample alert of the potential for severe weather and the approach of localized severe storms. Be sure to understand the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means that an area is being monitored for dangerous weather. A warning means that dangerous weather is imminent. When a warning is issued, there may be too little time to travel across town or across a county to escape the storm. The time to have a plan of action and move to the general vicinity of a storm shelter or safe area is when a watch is issued.

Keep in mind that lightning is one of Mother Nature's most dangerous killers. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning, even if the sun is still shining.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski contributed content and updated this story Tuesday midday, June 4, 2013.

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