The interwebs and social media have been “atwitter” about a significant storm system possibility next week. Looking at models as of Friday evening, we think Kansas could literally see just about any impact from the system.
You’ve probably seen some version of this image (or another model):
That shows one model’s take as of the available data as of noon CST Friday (Feb 11). Let’s take a couple of time slices focusing just on Kansas:
In summary, under this scenario a wedge from south of Dodge City to Hutchinson to Near Topeka would experience moderate to heavy rain, perhaps some thunder, followed by brief but moderate freezing rain/ice accumulation, followed by moderate to heavy snow…with temps running around 28 degrees. Areas near Hays would see heavy icing (1/4 to 1/2 inch), and parts of south central and central Kansas would see heavy snow.
Are we saying this is what we believe will happen? Absolutely NOT.
Under another scenario the icing risk nearly disappears and the heavy rain is further south. The key is, at a 5-7 day time range we just do not know.
We are reasonably confident:
- Much of Kansas will receive meaningful moisture (1/2 inch or more).
- We will experience some impacts from this system starting as early as sunset Wednesday, but more probably bedtime or after.
- Thursday will be the day of most impact.
- The system will pull out by late Friday.
We’ll be posting a detailed outlook Monday morning, when it starts to become clearer the most likely path of the overall system. The system only arrives ashore in the Pacific northwest on Monday, at which time it will be able to be sampled by a much higher density of upper-air measurements.
I expect forecast snowfall and ice amounts will shift substantially from Monday morning to Tuesday morning. This is completely due to the better data that will be gathered Monday. Also I’d expect the system to slow down at least six hours from the timings in the map images. The GFS beyond 5 days is typically 6 hours or more too fast with systems.
In comparison to the two previous storms, where we had snow falling in the low 20’s down to the single digits, we’ll be pretty warm when the body of the system comes through. That means much more moisture available, so rainfall would be plentiful. It may mean moderate to heavy icing, which would result in potentially widespread power outages. With snow falling in the few degrees below freezing, driving conditions would be slushy, with the high potential of snow accumulating on headlights and other external safety equipment.
So you may want to be sure your stock of canned goods and things with which to make soups, chili, etc, are adequate. I wouldn’t go all out preparing for a power outage event until things become clearer early next week, but I would keep in mind we have a higher potential than we have had, if the model above ends up resembling reality.