Wichita could get its first May snowfall

05/01/2013 6:17 PM

05/01/2013 6:18 PM

The winter that won’t quit is paying another visit to Wichita.

Among the expected presents are the first measurable May snowfall in Wichita’s history – and temperatures that could reach freezing early Friday morning.

“It’s going to be a dusting” for Wichita, said Mick McGuire, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Central Kansas could see an inch or two of snow.

Even if just a few tenths of an inch falls in Wichita, it will be the latest recorded measurable snowfall since local records began being kept in 1889. It would also make this winter the fifth snowiest in the city’s history. To date, 30 inches of snow have fallen this winter.

Wait – May is “winter”?

“It’s very anomalous,” McGuire said of the weather this winter, or spring, or whatever this season is.

Temperatures are projected to drop to the low 30s Friday morning in the Wichita area.

Sedgwick County extension agent. Bob Neier said that should not be cause for concern for folks who have already been planting this, um, spring.

“A lot of perennials are fine,” Neier said. “Just leave them alone at 32” degrees.

Annuals, particularly more delicate plants such as vinca and impatiens, should be brought indoors or covered with something light, he said.

“Sometimes a heavy blanket can do as much or more damage than the freeze,” Neier said. “You don’t want something that just mashes things down.”

Jim Denning, who owns Denning’s Greenhouse in west Wichita with his wife, said he has been encouraging his customers not to take any chances.

“We don’t want to err on the side of losing it,” Denning said. “We’ve been warning people for what seems like a month.”

Any plants that can be brought inside should be when temperatures fall well into the 30s, he said.

If it has to be outside, he said, cover it with a cardboard box or a milk jug – along with something that will keep the wind from blowing it away.

The best option, he said, is something that will keep the frost from the leaves and trap the ground’s heat.

This recent string of 80-degree days has warmed the soil, and that warmth can help protect shielded plants, he said.

It also convinced a number of people that spring had finally arrived, so they rushed out and planted aplenty. And now they’re sweating about this latest blast of wintry weather, which is ignoring the calendar.

Denning heard from a number of them Wednesday.

“They’re kind of hoping for the best,” he said.

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