Sunny warmth in store

If weather forecasts can be cheery, this week's promises the best of news for Kansans weary of winter snows and bitter cold.

Remember last week when temperatures plunged to minus-17 in Wichita?

Be prepared for a 90-degree difference later this week.

Our first peek of what the forecast promises came on Sunday as temperatures climbed into the mid-50s.

As mounds of snow quickly disappeared across Wichita's backyards and side streets, some people couldn't wait to get out in the sun.

At Little Joe's Car Wash near Douglas and West Street, Earl Headgebath was expecting to see a lot of business.

"Probably since this morning we've had 60 cars through; 150 will be a good day," he said about noon. "We'll get it. It's always packed after a major storm. It will be nonstop all day."

A normal day will bring in about 50 vehicles, he said, but he thought the wash could easily see 180 on Sunday.

Seventeen-year-old Jada Collier and her 16-year-old sister, Jamisa, were meticulously running the vacuum over their mom's Buick.

"We brought it here because it was dirty and we needed to clean it," Jada said as the vacuum suddenly went silent.


"Put another 50 cents in it," her older sister said authoritatively.

Nearby, Tony Romo had cleaned his GMC Sierra pickup.

"There was a lot of salt on it," he said. "I clean it. If not, the salt will start ruining the paint and it will start getting rust."

Each day this week promises balmy temperatures and clear skies, culminating on Thursday with a high in the 70s.

By the weekend, the highs will settle back into the 40s, said Stephanie Dunten, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita.

"There is a chance of precipitation over the weekend, but it is so far out, I can't predict if it will be rain or snow," Dunten said. "I am pretty confident it will be rain, but it could quickly transition into snow. The models are continuing to evolve. Just stay tuned."

Meanwhile, the melting snows are providing just the right amount of moisture for trees and shrubs, according to Bob Neier, horticulture extension agent for Sedgwick County.

"With all the snow we have had, it is soaking them down pretty fine."

But what about those dead-looking plants?

"Dead is dead. Let's not get ahead of ourselves," Neier said. "All we can do is wait until spring and see what's left. The snow cover we had on the perennials is really good. And, if you left leaves around things, those plants are protected. We just have to wait. It's always a gamble."

And on Sunday, the payoff was great.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle