Slow down in winter weather, or else this might happen
Forecasters say there’s a 100 percent chance for snow in Wichita this weekend as another arctic front comes through.
The National Weather Service predicts the snow will likely start falling in Wichita after 9 p.m. Saturday, and could be heavy at times before turning to patchy blowing snow after midnight. An estimated 3-5 inches of snow accumulation is possible, with a low temperature around 20 degrees and wind gusts of up to 29 mph.
The snow will likely continue until around noon Sunday, the weather service predicts. The high temperature will be near 21 degrees with wind chill values as low as negative 2 degrees as wind gusts may reach 30 mph. The low Sunday night will be around negative 1 degree.
The Wichita branch of the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for central, south central and southeast Kansas. It predicts heavy snow, with the storm possibly producing local snowfalls in excess of 6 inches. Wind gust as high as 35 mph could create areas of blowing and drifting snow.
The National Weather Service also advised drivers to plan for slippery and snow-covered roads, with blowing snow especially possible along the Kansas Turnpike.
The weather service said on Twitter that sub-zero wind chill values can be dangerously cold for people outside. Frostbite can occur in as little as 30 minutes when wind chills are below negative 15 degrees.
Snow and cold temperature records
The latest National Weather Service predictions show the winter storm’s conditions aren’t likely to break any local records.
Even at the higher end of predicted snow accumulation, 5 inches in one day wouldn’t break a daily snowfall record. The record for March 2 is 5 inches, set in 1912. The record for March 3 is 5.9 inches, set in 1952.
The predicted low temperature of negative 1 degree on Sunday night wouldn’t set a new record for March 3, where the record low is negative 2, set in 1960. But if the temperature stays that low Monday morning, it could set a new record. The current record low for March 4 is 1 degree.
Road conditions, snowplows and closings
Wichita public works director Alan King said Friday that all 60 snowplows will be prepared to go into service on city streets, where they would also spread sand and salt. Internet users can follow the paths of Wichita snowplows online at www.wichita.gov/PWU/Pages/SnowRemoval.aspx.
Drivers can check Kansas highway road conditions online at www.kandrive.org/kandrive. Kansas Department of Transportation statewide highway traffic cameras and Wichita cameras are also available online.
The Kansas Army National Guard will have 14 stranded motorist assistance response teams operating across the state. Each team has two military Humvees with four guardsmen, the adjutant general’s department said in a news release.
If you know of a closing, cancellation or postponement because of the snowstorm, please email details to The Wichita Eagle at email@example.com.