Kansans typically greet the first winter storm of the season as if they’ve never seen ice or snow before. If they’re lucky, the first batch of ice and snow is a merely an appetizer.
That won’t be the case this year, though.
An opening round of freezing drizzle early Saturday morning will make way for several inches of snow later in the day and through the night, forecasters say.
The Wichita area could see 3 to 6 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service, while AccuWeather senior vice president Mike Smith said portions of central and northern Kansas could see 6 to 10 inches of snow.
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State officials urged residents to make sure they’re prepared if they have to travel on this last weekend before Christmas.
“Avoid travel in areas where the winter storm system is expected, but if you must be on the road, be sure your car’s emergency kit is packed and ready,” said Angee Morgan, deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, in a prepared statement.
That kit should include bottled water, food, medicine, blankets, a shovel and an ice scraper. Motorists should have a full tank of gas before they leave and make sure their cellphones are fully charged.
In Wichita, street crews have been applying liquid brine to the city’s roadways in preparation for the coming storm. Additional treatment will be applied throughout the weekend and as road conditions warrant, said Joe Pajor, deputy director of public works and utilities for the city of Wichita.
Pajor said 50 trucks will be operated on rotating 12-hour shifts to clear snow routes and major secondary arterial streets during and after the storm.
A winter storm watch goes into effect at 3 a.m. Saturday and lasts until 6 a.m. Sunday.
The Dodge City branch of the weather service called the coming storm significant, warning residents of southwest and central Kansas to expect snow-packed roads and reduced visibility from blowing and drifting snow.