Storm Track 3 Forecast: Gusty conditions usher in weekend wintry weather

Kansas and Wichita Weather Forecasts by Storm Track 3

Always be suspicious of warmth like today in January.  Know that what goes up, must come down.  Our spring-like days will be coming to an end as we wrap up the work week.

We will return to winter within the next 24 to 36 hours.  Overnight into Friday morning will be mild compared to what it could be this time of year with lows into the 30s.  We will see an increase in cloud cover into the evening from the northwest to the southeast – a sign of our approaching storm system.  

Friday morning looks dry, but as we get into the afternoon, rain showers will appear near the Kansas/Nebraska state line.  

The cold front enters the picture in the northwest first by Friday afternoon where sustained winds will be higher than 20 MPH.  Gusts will be from 35 to 45 MPH will spread through southwest Kansas as well.  

Some gusts in western Kansas may exceed 50 MPH!  Dust will get blown around, reducing visibility.  

High Wind Watches are in place for most of western Kansas and portions of southwestern Nebraska along with the Oklahoma Panhandle until Friday evening.

Our Drought Monitor paints a dismal picture out west and south.  

As warm as temps get ahead of the front to the south with dry conditions and increasing wind, fire concerns are high to the southwest where our Oklahoma counties will soon be upgraded to a Fire Weather Warning.  

The unfortunate thing about our next storm system, western Kansas misses the moisture train.  Central and eastern Kansas will see more.  As colder air sinks south Friday night, any rain will change to all snow.  

The backside of the system rotates through areas farther east into Saturday.  

Shortly after the lunch hour on Saturday, snow will be done.  

As the snow sinks to the southeast, the clouds will escape the region with this system.  

It will be a narrow corridor that will favor areas generally along and east of I-135 for the better potential of finding any snowfall with this system. The latest guidance continues to pull the track of this storm system farther east which will hold some of the higher snowfall totals to locations outside of our viewing area into eastern Kansas and Missouri. Looks like extreme northeast Kansas around Atchison will see the most in the state.  Northern Missouri, north of 36 Highway that goes east and west out of St. Joseph has a greater chance of seeing more than 6” of snow.  Use caution while traveling from central into eastern Kansas through the Topeka and KC Metro areas as roads will be slick Friday night after midnight through Saturday.  

Highs on Saturday will be below freezing across the board.  Sunshine returns for Sunday when a warming trend begins into the first half of the new workweek.  

The next front cruises through by mid-week.  Model guidance is hinting at a quick shot of snow primarily for western Kansas next Wednesday night into Thursday morning.  Something to watch.  While amounts look light at this time, we will take anything we can get.

— Chief Meteorologist Lisa Teachman

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