According the an article from the Associated Press, conditions are very favorable for tornadic development.
"Computer forecasting models for Thursday resemble those on June 8, 1974, when more than three dozen tornadoes touched down in the southern Plains and killed 22 people, including six in Emporia," the article says.
The NWS echoes the sentiment in a Hazardous Weather Outlook statement issued for areas around Wichita:
AN UNSEASONABLY STRONG UPPER LEVEL STORM SYSTEM AND AN ASSOCIATEDThese storms will likely move eastward into the Springfield area Thursday into Friday, according to the NWS:
STRONG COLD FRONT WILL SPREAD SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS EAST ACROSS THE
AREA THURSDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT. AN OUTBREAK OF
SEVERE WEATHER IS EXPECTED MAINLY AFTER 4 PM...WITH THE POTENTIAL OF
BASEBALL SIZE HAIL OR LARGER...DAMAGING WINDS UP TO 80 MPH AND
SIGNIFICANT TORNADOES. HEAVY RAINFALL AND LOCALIZED FLOODING WILL
ALSO BE POSSIBLE...ESPECIALLY THURSDAY NIGHT. THE MAIN THREAT AREA
FOR THIS SIGNIFICANT WEATHER WILL BE ALONG AND SOUTHEAST OF SALINA
TO LYONS LINE TO THE INTERSTATE 35 CORRIDOR.
IF THESE STORMS SURVIVE THE EARLY FRIDAY MORNINGWill more severe storms fire up in the afternoon? That question will be answered after the severe weather moves through Thursday into Friday.
HOURS...DAYTIME HEATING BY FRIDAY AFTERNOON WILL CREATE AN
ENVIRONMENT CONDUCIVE FOR INTENSIFYING STORM UPDRAFTS. IT APPEARS
AS THOUGH SUFFICIENT WIND SHEAR WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR ROTATING
STORMS THAT COULD PRODUCE LARGE HAIL AND TORNADOES.
"Now for Friday as that complex of storms moves through during the early morning hours, that will then determine whether or not the atmosphere has been worked over too much to allow for further development to occur midday Friday and into the afternoon," Chief Meteorologist Kevin Lighty writes on the KSPR Weather Blog.
I think Fox 2's Chief Meteorologist Dave Murray summed it up best in his summer forecast special when he said this summer would be a year of extremes.
Uh, yeah, I think so.