Severe thunderstorms predicted for this afternoon could produce tornadoes across central and northern Campbell County, a National Weather Service (NWS) spokesperson said Wednesday.
The NWS in Rapid City, South Dakota, issued a severe thunderstorm watch at 1:25 p.m. for Campbell, Converse, Goshen, Laramie, Niobrara, Platte, and Weston counties. The watch will remain in place until 9 p.m. May 26.
The agency had already issued a hazardous weather outlook for the region at 5 a.m. this morning advising heavy rains, large hail in excess of 1-inch in diameter, and damaging winds exceeding 60 mph were possible.
In addition to the rain, hail, and winds, the NWS also advised that a localized tornado threat across portions of northeastern Wyoming and southwestern South Dakota could develop in correlation to the storms.
“There’s always a chance for tornadoes this time of year,” NWS Meteorologist Melissa Smith said, adding that the strongest storms should primarily impact the southern parts of the state with the highest risk for severe storm activity centered on western Nebraska.
But we can never rule out the possibility of a strong storm in Campbell County especially in late spring, Smith noted.
As of 2:15 p.m., mobile weather apps, including radar predictions from The Weather Channel, showed a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms in the Gillette area between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. with cloudy skies remaining well into the evening.
As of 2:30 p.m., no tornado watch or warnings have been issued.
This is a developing story; County 17 will provide additional weather updates as they become available.