Current Watch Info
***WINTER STORM WATCH from this evening through tomorrow afternoon. Heavy mixed precipitation expected. For Hutchinson, mostly snow, but some freezing rain is possible. Gusty wind to as high as 45mph — from the south ahead of the front, from the north behind it.
As I write this (1pm) our cold front at the surface appears to have lost some steam and nearly stalled out. It’s only moved maybe 25 miles since I looked at it about 5 hours ago. I’d place it from Newton to Alva, Oklahoma.
Ahead of the front it still feels like spring, with temps mid-50’s to mid-60s for the most part. Behind, temps are being slow to fall, somewhat as we expected, in spite of the gusty wind shifting around to the northwest.
Wind is becoming the most worrisome factor
While 4-8 inches of snow (higher wherever we get thunder snow or other bands set up) is nothing to pooh-pooh, the fact that wind will be maintained above 30 and gusting to 45 or greater until after the snowfall departs tomorrow leads to a number of concerns:
Near-blizzard, blizzard or white-out conditions: these really only vary by the distance you can see in the snow, so I’m going to go a bit less technical: y’all ain’t going to be able to see much, if anything.
Snow drifts: east-west roads will have the added difficulty of drifting anywhere there is a bit of obstacle on the north side of the road…farmsteads, tree rows, stubble in the fields, a bit higher terrain…you name it. Be prepared for substantial drifting.
Wind chill: if you get stranded in this storm, wind chill will be come an issue in a hurry. Lows tonight are expected around 20, maybe lower, and wind chill values will be reaching the single digits. If you must go out wear multiple layers, protect your face and hands, and make time outside as short as you possibly can.
Expect very difficult driving conditions, with heavy snow at times, lots of blowing and drifting, and all of it on top of a thin layer of ice in places. Snowfall rates at times could approach an inch an hour, which is far beyond the ability of road crews to deal with adequately. Please be cautious if you must get out tomorrow.
Matt will be posting an update this afternoon after NWS updates the watches and warnings. We anticipate some areas being upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning, and the potential for a Blizzard Warning exists. Here is our mid-day Wednesday call for snowfall totals:
Please be aware, there will be areas of higher snowfall than what we’ve shown here. Totals of up to a foot may be seen, but it’s beyond the state of the science to be able to say just where until just before the snow bands actually set up.