Wichita looked like a winter wonderland after the snow that fell late Sunday night and early Monday morning.
For the next few days, the area will feel very much like a winter wonderland as well.
Arctic air — complete with robust northerly winds that will push wind chills near or below zero — has moved over the region following the snow storm, forecasters said.
"We're looking at much colder air filtering in," National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Caruso said.
Highs today will be in the 20s, with strong northwesterly winds dropping the wind chill below zero.
With snow cover inhibiting daytime heating, tonight's lows should drop into the single digits, Caruso said.
The cold air won't begin to move out until Thursday, when the thermometer will tiptoe above freezing.
More substantial melting should take place Friday, when highs will flirt with 40.
Wichita's official snowfall total from the storm is four inches, Caruso said, but reports of six inches were common north of Kellogg and near El Dorado in Butler County.
"It was one intense little band" of heavy snow, he said. "It just happened to hit the north side of town."
Nailing down accumulation totals when the storms are imbedded with microcells of heavy snow remains elusive.
"The challenge is to calibrate people's expectations," said WeatherData Inc. president Mike Smith. "There's no way to figure out these five-mile- wide snow bands two days in advance."
A narrow band of heavy snow set up late Sunday night, stretching from Kingman County through the northern half of Sedgwick County and into Butler County.
Snowfall totals north and south of the band were less than three inches. But the snow band dropped between 4 and 6 inches on the center and north side of Wichita.
"What the biggest challenge is, is what will be the maximum accumulation and over how much of an area will that maximum accumulation cover?" said Eric Schminke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita.
Those heavy snow bands set up when particularly moist air is lifted by an updraft into particularly cold air aloft in a storm, Schminke said.
That creates a zone of heavy snow falling rapidly — which sets the stage for vastly different snowfall totals not far apart geographically.
That happened last month when a band of heavy snow set up just north of Wichita.
Snow bands can be deduced the day of the storm, forecasters say. But so many variables have to come together just right for them to develop, Smith said, that earlier detection just isn't possible with current technology.