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Storm's greatest risk in Nebraska





The moderate risk for severe storms today has drifted north, primarily into Nebraska, but meteorologist Mike Moritz said there's still a chance for dangerous storms in much of northern Kansas.

Areas in a moderate risk category are eight times more likely to see tornadoes form, Moritz said during a webinar-conference call this morning from the National Weather Service office in Hastings, Neb. Slight risk areas reflect the possibility of seeing tornadoes that are two to three times what is considered normal.

"Just because you're not in a moderate risk, you're not in the clear," he said.

The webinar is relatively unusual, put together because of the moderate risk category forecast issued today by the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.

"This a fairly strong forecast," Moritz said of the outlook for today.

Nebraska's in the bull's-eye today because the system that brought heavy rain Sunday has drifted back north as a warm front.

The risk in Kansas is a result of a dry line that's sure to meet up with moist air, producing the prospects for strong thunderstorms and the possibility of tornadoes.

While the risk is smaller, the forecast is suggesting better conditions for storm spotters in the field.

The Nebraska storms, Moritz said, likely will be high precipitation events, making it difficult to see any tornadoes that do form.

Today's storms, he said, should start firing anytime from 3 to 10 p.m. -- give or take an hour on either side of that time frame.

Nebraska's moderate risk is something that's only seen about three times a year in the Hastings forecast area. A high-risk category is only seen once every two to three years, he said.

A moderate risk means there's the possibility of "a couple tornadoes," Moritz said.

But he said Hastings might be the starting point for the severe storms, as they start building and eventually move east.

The greatest chances are in eastern and northern Nebraska and Iowa.

But there's still a slight risk of severe weather along northern Kansas, dipping down into portions of north-central and northwest Kansas.

Forecasts suggest the storms could start forming along the Kansas border after 5 p.m.

But the forecast is in something of a flux.

"We have to see how things build when the sun comes out and where the front sets up," Moritz said.