Radar continues to fill in early this morning, with a mixed bag of precipitation falling. This is aligning nicely with the forecast so far. A band of moderate snow is taking over northwest Kansas and reports of freezing drizzle are coming in for south central Kansas. So far, Lyon, McPherson and Marion counties have reports of icy roads. With temperatures falling, this trend will likely only get worse before it gets better. I do foresee some sleet being mixed in soon as well. Rain is mainly staying off to our southeast. Regardless, our wintry mess is under way.
Our Colby SkyView camera already has covered grass. Temperatures are so cold in that direction, this will be a powdery snow, not heavy and wet.
Our original snowfall forecast still looks like it is holding up pretty well with our current model guidance. Those along and north of I-70 still look to have the biggest travel impacts and heaviest snow out there today. I think 3 to 5 inches is going to be reached, with some in north central Kansas potentially exceeding 6 to 8 inches. These higher totals should be spotty. This storm is large, so I think once we switch over to snow, most of the state will see at least something. The farther south you are, the lower your totals will be thanks to that wintry mix occurring this morning.
Ice accumulations will be spotty and mainly along and east of the turnpike. With freezing rain AND sleet accumulations together, some spots could near a quarter of an inch, but near a tenth of an inch would be more likely. Regardless, it does not take much ice to become incredibly slick and dangerous.
Timing pulls most of the moisture out of the state by late Saturday evening, ending from west to east.
Temperatures range from the single digits to the 20s early this morning. This is why all precipitation types are being reported. As a front continues to work through, expect our air to turn frigid for the entire state as we work through the morning. By noon, we will be around 10 to 12 degrees in Wichita. Basically, our high temperature today is occurring now, and it will only continue to fall from here.
Expect wind chills well below zero for most of the day thanks to a strong wind out of the north. It will be persistent for most of us between 10 and 25 mph with gusts up to 35. This is going to create dangerous outdoor conditions. Today is going to be a great day to hunker down if you can. Slick travel and dangerous cold are the main players of today’s forecast.
Overnight lows are going to be absolutely frigid as well. Expect single digits above AND below zero for the Sunflower State. I am expecting single digits in the Wichita area, with wind chills well below zero until about noon on Sunday.
Minor improvements are on the way for Sunday with highs into the 20s, but we should see a good deal of sunshine. Anything that falls will likely melt over the next few days as 40s return for Monday and Tuesday. Then, signs point to another late week cold snap with highs back to the teens and 20s. I have a few early signs of a quick moving disturbance that could bring a bit of snow late Wednesday into Thursday. This would be rather minor, but something to keep an eye on.
-Meteorologist Warren Sears