Severe weather including hail and possible tornados likely today (5/17/19)

Staff Writer

A warm front, a dry line and a cold front are elements that are setting up for potentially very severe weather across much of Nebraska for today, Friday, May 17, 2019, and Custer County will be right in the thick of things.

"Custer County will be right in the mix of it all," Brandon Thorn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) out of North Platte said. "People there should prepare for all modes of severe weather - hail, isolated tornadoes, isolated flooding." Thorn added if a warm front along the I-80 corridor moves further north, Broken Bow will be "right in the mix."

Storms are expected to begin forming between 3 and 4 p.m. Central this afternoon with the threat lasting at least until midnight.

Strong winds of up to 70 mph and hail from golf ball/two inch size up to baseball size are possible.

"A few strong isolated tornadoes may be possible," Thorn said. "The tornado threat will be the greatest as the storms form."

Thorn said the storms will eventually form a line and the tornado threat will decrease once that line forms. The greatest threat of tornadoes is from 3 to 9 p.m. Central.

Along a stalled warm front just north of the I-80 corridor will be the largest risk of large hail and tornadoes.

A dry line in southwest Nebraska could produce very large hail and isolated tornadoes.

A stalled out cold front over the Sandhills brings the potential for very large hail and damaging winds. "We can't rule of a possible tornado," Thorn said.

"This is a pretty big event," he added. "Have a plan in place (for severe weather) and keep open lines of communication."