The warm-up has started! It will be short-lived before our next cold front arrives on Friday where there will be a wild temperature spread across the state.
We will continue to see the clouds increase through the overnight as they have this afternoon.
A piece of energy may spark a random sprinkle or two primarily near and north of I-70. The atmosphere in the lower levels is bone dry. Expect temperatures to rest into the 20s and 30s across the state.
We will have an increase in winds from the south and west as gusts may approach 45 MPH into early Thursday morning. We will see more sunshine over cloud cover Thursday as highs reach into the 60s. Northern Kansas near the Kansas/Nebraska state line may hold on to the upper 50s as the warmest air may not be able to reach that far north.
A potent storm system moves into the Central High Plains Thursday night through Saturday morning. Winter Storm alerts are in effect from Nebraska back west through the mountains of Colorado and Utah extending into southern Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Nevada into a small sliver of California will also see snow. Denver still has not seen any snowfall this season, the latest on record for them. This will change as this system approaches. The Colorado mountains will see several inches of snow and Nebraska will also have a healthy dosage.
Snow will flirt with our northwest counties Friday where little to no accumulation is expected.
The ground will be warm heading into this event and it will not snow long enough as temperatures tumble from west to east. The timing of the front is critical because an earlier frontal passage robs Wichita and points farther east of the warmth.
That said, we will still warm into the 60s before temperatures crash through the afternoon. Winds will also be an issue. I see a max Thursday night into Friday morning from southwest Kansas into the Oklahoma Panhandle where a gust above 40 MPH is possible.
As the front tracks through the region, gusts between 35 and 45 MPH will easily be obtained.
These gusty and dry conditions will lead to critical fire concerns as any spark could quickly get out of hand with the strong winds in place. Fire Weather Watches are in effect Friday morning into the evening for portions of southern Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle into northern Oklahoma.
Points south and east are much drier, but a sprinkle or a light rain shower cannot be ruled out Friday before colder air takes over for the first half of the weekend. Saturday will be the coldest with highs in the 40s. We will experience an uptick in warmth Sunday along with winds into early next week.
Above average temperatures will take over early next week before the next strong cold front Wednesday into Thursday. Moisture will need to be monitored, but we may get robbed once again. The winds will be wicked as this works through the area.
— Chief Meteorologist Lisa Teachman