SIDNEY - Five years after the largest severe weather outbreak in recent memory, the Nebraska Panhandle is under the gun again for possible strong to severe thunderstorms Sunday. Although, storms are not expected to be at the level they were five years ago, according to the National Weather Service office in Cheyenne.

The NWS says scattered thunderstorms will develop Sunday afternoon and grow in coverage as they spread east in the evening. Very large hail of two inches or great, a brief tornado and strong to severe downburst winds are all a possibility northeast of a line roughly from Lusk, Wyo. to Sidney, Neb. 

Near record high temperatures are possible again Sunday. Cheyenne reached 95 degrees on Saturday, which exceeded the previous daily record of 92 from 2013. It was the earliest day in the season to reach 95 degrees or warmer in Cheyenne. The previous record earliest 95+ day was June 17th, 2021.

Five years ago, southeast Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle were outlooked by the NWS Storm Prediction Center in the first (and still only to this date) Moderate Risk (Level 4 out of 5) for strong tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail. By that evening, 12 tornadoes occurred and that resulted in two injuries, but no fatalities.

The average tornado warning lead time was 22 minutes. Three of the 12 tornadoes were rated EF-2 (111-135 mph winds) with some of the hardest hit areas near Carpenter to Cheyenne, to north of Torrington and Bayard.

Large hail to the size of softballs also occurred on this day with the severe thunderstorms.