Finger on the Weather

More ice, sleet and even snow for Wichita area Wednesday

Expect another bout of slick roads and challenging travel in the Wichita metropolitan area Wednesday night and Thursday morning, weather officials warned.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for 18 counties in the eastern half of Kansas stretching from Wednesday afternoon through about dawn on Thursday.

The Wichita area is included in the advisory, which calls for a mixture of wintry precipitation: snow, freezing rain and sleet. The advisory begins at 3 p.m. Wednesday and lasts until 6 a.m. Thursday.

“We may start out as light snow, then transition to more of a sleet event and then freezing rain as tomorrow night progresses,” said Brad Ketcham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

As much as two inches of snow — or a mix of sleet and snow — are possible in parts of the advisory area, forecasters say. Ice accumulations could range from a tenth of an inch to a quarter of an inch, Ketcham said.

The higher amounts could bring down some tree branches and power lines, he said.

The tail end of the Wednesday evening commute could be slippery in the Wichita area, Ketcham said, and the morning commute Thursday could also be slick.

“It doesn’t take a lot of sleet on the ground to make roads very, very slick,” he said. “Most of the freezing rain will be on elevated surfaces” such as bridges, branches, power lines and elevated routes.

Rose Hill has already announced no classes will be held on Wednesday, but USD 259 in Wichita will have classes as usual.

“We will monitor the conditions for Thursday,” the district announced via Twitter.

Motorists “are just going to have to be cautious by Thursday morning,” Ketcham said.

There should not be any thunder with this next round of wintry precipitation. That’s actually not good news, he said, because a lighter rate of precipitation actually encourages more ice accumulation.

“Uncertainty exists in the precipitation type and amounts with this forecast,” the weather service tweeted late Tuesday afternoon. “Stay tuned.”

Wednesday weather cancellations

Wichita Knitters’ Guild has canceled both Wednesday meetings.

Rose Hill USD 394 will not have classes.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger