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Wichita weather: Winter storm warning until noon Wednesday

The National Weather Service has upgraded its warning to a winter storm warning until noon on Wednesday, as the storm now moving into the region packs more of a wallop than forecasters had expected.

The winter storm warning covers eight counties in south-central Kansas, including Sedgwick, Reno, Harvey, Harper, Sumner, Cowley, Kingman and Butler counties. Wichita could receive 4 to 8 inches of snow from this latest salvo, forecasters say. Winds of 30 to 35 miles an hour will reduce visibility and drive wind chills to -10 and -15.

“We’re seeing higher snowfall rates” than forecasters had anticipated from the storm, said Brad Ketcham, a meteorologist with the weather service in Wichita.

Snow will fall at up to a half-inch an hour, Ketcham said, and over 12 hours “you’re looking at 6 inches, easy.” The heaviest snow in the Wichita area will fall this afternoon, “and that is going to really complicate the afternoon rush hour,” he said.

Snow will continue into this evening, with highs today only about 10 degrees in the Wichita area. Overnight lows will drop near 0, with wind chills of -15 to -20. Wednesday will see flurries ending and sunshine returning, with highs in the teens, forecasters say.

Overnight lows into Thursday morning could drop below 0 in Wichita again, but temperatures are expected to rebound quickly into this weekend and early next week, with highs in the 40s and low 50s.

For more information on conditions, go to our weather page.

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