KSStorm.Info Briefing: March 15, 2023

A powerful polar system is on the way. Windy conditions the next several days and a strong temperature drop across the front.
2023 03 15 briefing aag

Our next weather-maker is in the Four Corners region this morning and will move across the Rockies today. As we’ve been saying for several days, strong change is on the way as what we hope is the last polar blast of the season arrives tonight and tomorrow.

Today: Very windy and warm

There’s not much moisture being pulled in ahead of the system, and with south wind gusting to around 45mph at times we’ll see increased fire danger along with difficult driving conditions on east-west roads, especially for high-profile vehicles. Highs will range 10-15 degrees above normal for mid-March.


Tonight and Tomorrow: Frontal Passage

Here’s the timing for passage of the front as shown by various models this morning:

  • 9pm Wednesday: front enters the state in the northwest corner
  • 3am Thursday: front is about to arrive in Hays and has passed Garden City, resting along a Phillipsburg to Ulysses line.
  • 6am Thursday: front is past Dodge City and Great Bend, extending from near Beloit to near Meade.
  • 9am Thursday: front clears Hutchinson and Salina, resting on a line from north of Manahattan to between Pratt and Medicine Lodge.
  • Noon Thursday: front has cleared Wichita and Topeka metro areas, is along a line fro Atchison to Sedan
  • 3pm Thursday: front exits the state in the southeast corner

For most of its passage across Kansas, the front will be most noted by the change from south-southwesterly wind to northwesterly wind. The coldest air lags the front by 3-6 hours through mid-day, then catches up to it in the afternoon as it exits Kansas. Western areas may struggle to get to 35 or 40 tomorrow, central Kansas will top out before noon, and southeast Kansas will peak early to mid afternoon. A couple of caveats concerning temperature: models are typically 3-6 hours slow with arrival of cold air in this situation, and latest runs have in fact slowed the frontal timing by 3-6 hours form where it was forecast this time yesterday. So the times above could vary by 3 hours or so earlier or later. And I’ll be blunt: don’t take any forecaster’s call for a high temperature tomorrow as gospel…there is just too much dependence on the exact position of the front.

What we do know is it will be cold late in the day for everyone, generally below 30 in the west and mid-30’s to around 40 east by sunset. And the wind remains through Friday.

In spite of the cold, grassland fire conditions in central and southwest Kansas will be elevated Friday.

Precipitation: none to light

The moisture is just not going to arrive in time for the front to do anything. At best, scattered flurries or sprinkles mixing with snow behind the front. If anyone gets more than an inch of snow it will be a surprise…any accumulation will be limited to grassy and elevated areas. Rain-wise, a trace to a tenth of an inch at best, and again most of us don’t see a thing.


Tomorrow night through Sunday (at least)

Bitter cold for the season, especially at night. While the worst of the polar air will be shunted to our east, we’ll still see lows in the teens Saturday and Sunday morning. The wind doesn’t die down until Saturday, and with clear to partly cloudy skies temperatures will plummet. Daytime, for the most part, will be maybe 5-10 degrees cooler than last weekend.


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