Perhaps the biggest winter storm (on a statewide level) of the season is just hours away from starting and we are feeling pretty confident about how things will play out.
Where We’re At Now:
Here are the latest winter storm watches, warnings, and advisories for the area:
Where Does the Forecast Stand?
Right now, we have pretty high confidence in how things will play out for the rest of day into tonight. The cold front responsible for the first wave of this event is continuing to trudge southeast and is making its way into the Flint Hills as I type this update. We think it will stall somewhere in southeastern Kansas late this afternoon. Behind the front, the atmosphere will moisten and we’ll see areas of drizzle and light rain showers break out across south-central and southeast Kansas as we continue through the daylight hours.
The main event gets going tonight, as the cold air deepens and we see continuing overrunning precip. There is some concern for a 1-2 hour window of freezing rain and sleet prior to the changeover to snow. Right now, we feel the best chances for that would be along and southeast of the Kansas Turnpike, with only a light glazing expected. Once we get past midnight, the transition zone should make steady progress southeast, with most of the state experiencing snowfall.
While you’re sleeping, snow will expand in coverage and intensity across the state, with moderate to heavy snow possible south of US 56 highway. The moderate to heavy snow will continue for most of the state during the day on Wednesday, however, there could be a lull in the precip during the midday hours as we wait for the main storm system to come out and bring the next round, which should happen for primarily southern Kansas Wednesday night.
How Much Snow is Forecast?
We have grinded on this forecast, monitoring every model run and soon, we’ll be matching it to what is being reported. We are confident there will be a pretty sharp cutoff in snow totals, which should occur north of highway 24 in northern Kansas. As of mid-morning, we see very little reason to change our initial forecast from yesterday:
As is the case with every winter storm, not everyone in the 6-9″ or 8-12″+ areas will see those amounts, due to mesoscale processes we cannot see even hours out. There are two things that could increase the numbers, especially in southern Kansas. One is if we see east-west bands of snow set up over an area, and the other is if the precip this evening changes to snow faster than what is currently forecasted.
What About Temps and Winds?
Great question. Temps will tumble into the teens overnight across most of the state and stay there through the day Wednesday. Combined with north winds of 15-25 mph with higher gusts, wind chills will be in the -5 to +5 range through the day Wednesday.
Right now, we expect the greatest wind chill issues Thursday morning, with temps in the single digits either side of zero and winds at 8-16 mph. This will create wind chills in the 0 to -20 range by Thursday morning. Here is the latest wind chill forecast from the National Weather Service:
Given the fluffy nature of the snow, we do expect some blowing and drifting issue, which will create havoc on east-west roadways and limit visibilities in the moderate to heavy bands. However, we do not see indications right now that this will be a blizzard scenario.
We’ll keep you updated on this winter storm, with updates here on KSStorm.info, our Eagle Radio partners, as well as our Twitter & Facebook pages! Scott will be out on the roads in the morning, and you can watch his stream at KSStorm.Live!