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The major tornado outbreak the SPC has been talking about for the last few days is underway right now, with tornado watches and warnings issued across parts of the midwest.

Here is my diary from last night describing the basic setup of the tornado outbreak.

Here is the current outlook for severe weather across the United States. The moderate (red shading) and high (purple shading) risk zones are where the strongest storms and strongest tornadoes are expected to occur.

Here are the current watches. All tornado watches are listed as a Particularly Dangerous Situation. Very strong, long-lived tornadoes are expected to develop in and around the watch areas, in addition to winds in excess of 80 MPH and hail larger than 4.00" in diameter (softball size).

Updated 512PM CDT

I will likely not be able to keep up with everything as it happens, so please use the following links to keep track of the weather for yourself:

Storm Prediction Center
Wunderground Radar
NWS Oklahoma City
NWS Wichita KS
NWS Dallas/Fort Worth
NWS Topeka KS
NWS Omaha, NE

The area below the squiggle will be updated in the format of the traditional severe weather liveblogs I've done in the past. The latest update will come FIRST, and the oldest update will be last at the bottom of the diary. I will start a new diary once this one gets too cluttered.

556PM CDT: Large and extremely dangerous tornado in Rice Co. Kansas, from chasers broadcasting live on KWCH.

538PM CDT: A large, wedge tornado is on the ground 6 miles northeast of Lyons, Kansas right now. KWCH CBS 12 out of Wichita, KS is covering this storm really well in a live streaming broadcast. The tornado will impact Barber and Pratt Counties in south-central Kansas. This storm is moving into Medicine Lodge, KS.

522PM CDT: Radar detected rotation and possible tornado hauling ass towards Woodward OK right now. Storm is moving northeast at 50 MPH.

510PM CDT: They weren't kidding about adding strong wording to warnings from now on. This is the wording in the tornado warning for Kingman and Reno counties, which expires at 545PM CDT:

455PM CDT: Someone just brought this to my attention via Facebook and I laughed at the kind person who keeps reposting my weather diaries at Democratic Underground, I actually have no problem with that and thank you for helping to spread the word. Just ensure that you copy all the emphasis, links, and images correctly to make sure the information gets out okay. :)

433PM CDT: Here's a cross section of the line of storms in western Nebraska right now, north of North Platte NE. It looks like a massive hail producer on radar. In addition to a tornado warning, this storm could produce hail 3.50" in diameter (halfway between the size of a hockey puck and a grapefruit).

414PM CDT: Dangerous tornado on the ground right now southwest of Des Moines, IA.

342PM CDT: Numerous tornado warnings issued from Nebraska to Oklahoma right now. Most of the warnings and rotations are over very sparsely populated areas. This is the most dangerous storm right now, moving through Stafford, Pawnee, and Edwards Counties in KS. The town of Macksville (population 549) is directly in the path of this likely tornado.

304PM CDT: The SPC has updated the tornado risk to move the 45% zone south into Kansas and Oklahoma. The percent refers to the risk of a tornado occurring within 25 miles of any given point in the shaded area. Anything over 2% is high...getting up near 45% is really, really high, hence the dire forecasts today.

300PM CDT: Confirmed tornado on the ground very near, if not over, Mullinville KS. It will pass northwest of Greensburg KS.

237PM CDT: Storms continue to fire along the dryline through Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. A new tornado watch was just issued for parts of west-central Nebraska (not PDS) for the expected development of convection near the triple point of the low pressure system in the area.

Here's a look at the composite radar from the College of DuPage:

225PM CDT: Two tornadoes on the ground in Kansas right now. One is north of Dodge City, and one is south of Dodge cities. Numerous little towns and farms are in the path of these confirmed tornadoes.

154PM CDT: Tornado warning for Dodge City KS right now. NWS says very strong rotation entering the city, along with "destructive baseball size hail."

116PM CDT: Formidable rotation moving into Mankato, KS right now:

Please note that, due to the sparsely populated areas out here, I'm only going to post the strongest rotations or the storms that will impact cities where people reading this actually live. I doubt many of you live in Mankato, population 869, or Burr Oak, population 174. It's not out of disrespect for these little towns, but it's a matter of sheer practicality.

102PM CDT: The Storm Prediction Center says that the tornado threat will ramp up later in the day. The storms going right now are mainly large hail producers with some tornadoes possible -- they're elevated storms, meaning that they're not originating from the instability at the surface. The storms that develop later on are expected to be surface based, and will be able to utilize the full amount of instability and shear available in the atmosphere. This is when the tornado threat will really get going.

Initial Update 1256PM CDT: There is only one tornado warning in effect right now for Jewell County KS and Nuckolls County NE for a supercell that has radar-indicated rotation in it. There are numerous other storms across Kansas and Nebraska right now that are only severe warned.

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