The latest forecast models indicate snow from a major winter storm barreling into Kansas won’t reach Wichita until midnight or later, local meteorologists say.
Today’s warmest temperatures came before sunrise, with rain and falling temperatures the dominant characteristic for the metropolitan area. Snowfall forecasts for Tuesday in Wichita range from 1 to 4 inches.
“The gradients are pretty sharp,” National Weather Service meteorologist Vanessa Pearce said.
That means there could be a significant difference in snowfall totals within a few miles of each other. Liberal could see a foot of snow from this storm, Pearce said, while central Kansas could receive 8 to 10 inches. A line stretching northeast from Dodge City through Jetmore to Rush Center could see 10 to 14 inches of snow.
“Anywhere (in southwest and central Kansas) can get a foot” of snow, said Marc Russell, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Dodge City branch.
The storm will move slowly through the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas on up into central Kansas, he said. Heavy snow can be expected through early Tuesday morning.
Rain will change to sleet and eventually snow as the mid-level layers of the atmosphere cool, Russell said. Sleet could be particularly heavy in Pratt and points west of there.
“Hopefully, it will change over (to snow) quickly,” Russell said.
While the sleet shouldn’t cause problems with power lines, he said, it will make travel more treacherous. Authorities are discouraging travel in southwest and central Kansas tonight and Tuesday morning because of the snow and strong winds, which could create blizzard conditions at times.