Tuesday, December 29, 2020

PRELIMINARY: Major Winter Storm Likely Later This Week

There is the potential for a crippling ice and snow storm late this week in the Great Plains

Preliminary Freezing Rain (Glaze Ice) Forecast
Freezing Rain Accumulations Noon Thursday to Noon Friday.
Of course, amounts may shift up to 50 miles in any direction.

The ice amounts would be bad enough but they will likely be accompanied by high winds (see below). So, if this forecast is correct, not only will travel be disrupted but there is the potential for serious power failures that could last hours or days. 

Preliminary Snow Amount Forecast 

Snowfall Forecast From 6am Thursday to 9pm Friday

There will likely be drifting snow based on wind speed forecasts for 6am Friday.

Wind Gust Forecast For 6am Friday
Pale blues are gusts of 30-35mph. Light greens are 40-44 mph.

Currently, a NWS winter storm watch is in effect from Thursday afternoon into Friday night for the tinted counties. The watch will likely be expanded Wednesday. The watch includes Wichita, Salina and Woodward. 

This is still a preliminary forecast. Storm watches and warnings may have to be extended to the east and northeast with time. 

The heavy ice followed by heavy snow has occurred before at this time of year. There was a nearly identical ice storm followed by heavy snow in this region on January 3-4, 1973. Throughout the night of the 4th in Kansas City, eerie blue lighting would appear for a few seconds as power lines fell and shorted under the weight of the ice and snow.

If you are planning to travel late this week, please factor this forecast into your plans. 

I will update again during the late morning Wednesday. 

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