Happy Sunday! As we get ready for the winter storm to move in overnight, I thought I’d spend a few minutes laying out our final forecast and thinking for the event.
Right now, this still appears to be a scenario where the western and northern two-thirds of Kansas get the bulk of the snow, while areas such as Wichita, Emporia, Chanute, and Coffeyville remain all rain. The upshot to all this is that the system will provide some sorely-needed moisture to areas significantly impacted by the ongoing drought.
Further to the south, across Oklahoma, strong to severe storms are possible south of I-40 later tonight. Another sign that this is a dynamic system we’re dealing with.
Here is a look at the current warning and advisory situation as of 4 PM Sunday:
As you can see, the advisory has been extended to the Colorado border and into the Texas Panhandle, while the Winter Storm Warning takes up much of central into northeast Kansas. It is the area in pink where we will see the most significant travel impacts from the storm.
As mentioned in our original briefing, the overall spirit of the forecast has not changed much in the last two days, but there is some disagreement on how much snow falls in Western Kansas, largely due to a warm tongue of air just off the surface. If that warm layer can erode quicker than forecast, we will see higher amounts and a shift in the warning layout currently. If not, the amounts will fall in the advisory (2-5″) criteria. Given the uncertainty in this aspect of the forecast, the local NWS offices have gone with an advisory in place of a warning.
Here is the NAM’s version of how both systems (tonight’s and Tuesday’s) will play out:
You can tell that the NAM is more aggressive in the push of warmer air across southwest into north-central Kansas. Our thinking is currently that is too aggressive, which means more snow for the I-70 corridor from Salina to Manhattan. Given the current track of the storm, instability aloft, and the models honing in on a “jackpot” area, we have raised forecast values in north-central Kansas for our final forecast, which is below:
Winds will be in the 15-25 mph category (gusts up to 30 mph) this storm system, which is below blizzard criteria, however, with the snow falling at a fast rate, near whiteout conditions can be expected during times of higher winds.
Most models have the storm system moving out Monday evening, but residual snow could continue for areas along and north of US 36, ahead of the third system in the wave train.
As always, make sure your car is stocked with a winter survival kit, and have alternate plans in place should the weather prove to be too dangerous for travel.
If you’re in the Hutchinson area, you can listen to forecasts from KSStorm on KHMY 93.1 FM, KHUT 102.9 FM, KWBW 98.5 FM and 1450 AM, plus the HutchPost.com Weather Page!