UPDATED 5:20 p.m.:
Widespread severe weather is heading our way and could impact western and central Nebraska.
The National Weather Service has issued a statement advising that there could be "large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes." The greatest risk of tornadoes exists south and east of a line from Big Springs to Thedford to O’Neill. The greatest risk for very large hail along with damaging winds exists north of that line.
Affected areas include Lincoln County and other counties in southwest, north central and central Nebraska, and the eastern counties of the Panhandle.
A tornado watch is in effect until 10 p.m. CDT. It includes all of southwest Nebraska, extending northeast. It includes cities as far east as Holdrege and Bartlett.
According to the statement on weather.gov, "Locally heavy rain will also be possible with any of the stronger storms initially, as well as later this evening when the storms merge across north central Nebraska."
On Friday morning, Brandon Thorne, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in North Platte, said severe weather was expected to develop around 3 p.m. CDT.
Widespread severe thunderstorms are expected, according to a hazardous weather outlook posted on weather.gov. There could be hail the size of baseballs or larger and damaging wind gusts as high as 70 mph, along with the threat of tornadoes.
Locally heavy rain is expected, which may cause flooding, particularly across portions of the Sandhills into north central Nebraska.
The following counties are included in the weather outlook:
Sheridan, Cherry, Keya Paha, Boyd, Brown, Rock, Holt, Garden, Grant, Hooker, Thomas, Blaine, Loup, Garfield, Wheeler, Arthur, McPherson, Logan, Custer, Deuel, Keith, Perkins, Lincoln, Chase, Hayes and Frontier.
People should have a plan in place and know how to receive warnings, such as through weather radio, wireless alerts or the Smart911 Rave system.