Finger on the Weather

Wichita weather: Cold prelude to potent winter storm

A cold, sunny Thursday will serve as the prelude to a potent winter storm in the Wichita area this weekend, forecasters say.

Highs will peak in the mid-30s – about 30 degrees cooler than Wednesday’s peak temperature. The high on Wednesday, 66 degrees, fell 4 degrees shy of matching the record high for Jan. 11 set 10 years ago.

But Thursday will feel like winter in Wichita, with north winds occasionally touching double digits. Overnight lows will drop to the low 20s, with clouds moving in on Friday.

Highs on Friday won’t get out of the 20s, forecasters say, with freezing rain becoming likely after sunset. Freezing rain will continue into early Saturday afternoon, with precipitation changing to rain if temperatures can sneak above freezing.

Freezing rain will return by late evening and continue through Sunday morning, forecasters say. Temperatures should push above freezing by afternoon, changing the precipitation to rain.

A winter storm watch is in effect from 6 p.m. Friday until 6 p.m. Sunday for 16 counties in southern Kansas, including the Wichita metropolitan area. The watch statement forecasts up to an inch of ice accumulation in the area.