Finger on the Weather

First snow of the season falls in northwest Kansas

A Kyle Railroad train idles during a snowstorm in Goodland early Wednesday. Dalton Boggs, a Goodland resident, said just enough snow fell to cover the ground.
A Kyle Railroad train idles during a snowstorm in Goodland early Wednesday. Dalton Boggs, a Goodland resident, said just enough snow fell to cover the ground. Courtesy photo

Portions of northwest Kansas received a few inches of snow throughout the day Wednesday, but blizzard predictions generally fell short, according to meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Goodland.

“Was it a blizzard? It was pretty low-end if it was, and pretty isolated,” said meteorologist Jerry Killingsworth. “We’ve certainly seen much worse.”

Areas in Cheyenne and Sherman counties, which border Colorado, received the most snowfall Wednesday, according to the service. Goodland recorded 2.5 inches, Killingsworth said.

The snow, which was part of a larger storm in the Colorado area, began to tail off as it traveled east – around Colby, “probably an inch at worst” fell, Killingsworth said.

To the west, where the bulk of the storm was brewing, about 5 inches were recorded in Yuma, Colo., he said. More than 50 flights were canceled at Denver International Airport on Wednesday morning.

The snow was also wetter than anticipated, so it did not blow around as much as predicted, he said.

Earlier in the day, weather service officials predicted winds of 55 to 65 miles an hour creating zero to near-zero visibility. Actual recorded winds were between 40 and 50 mph, according to Killingsworth.

By 4 p.m., a blizzard warning and a high wind warning had both been canceled.

According to Goodland USD 352’s Facebook page, school was canceled Wednesday because of the weather.

Killingsworth said he thinks “most all of (the snow) will be melting tomorrow,” if it hadn’t already melted by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

High winds were listed as the cause of multiple power outages across the state Wednesday evening, said Ebony Clemons, a Westar spokeswoman.

In Bourbon County, in southeast Kansas, nearly 2,900 people were without power as of 5 p.m. because multiple poles were blown over around Humboldt. Crews were expected to have repairs finished early Thursday morning, according to Westar’s online outage map. Most residents had their power restored by 8 p.m.

The high winds played into a large grass fire reported near the Butler-Cowley county line Wednesday afternoon, emergency dispatchers said.

Shortly before 2 p.m., fire crews in Atlanta, which is in Cowley County, reported a fire about one mile south of town spanning approximately 3 to 4 miles, a Butler County emergency dispatcher said. Eight different departments from Butler County were dispatched to help put out the fire Wednesday afternoon.

Butler County units were no longer working the fire as of 7:30 p.m., but various Cowley County agencies were still trying to put it out as of that time, according to emergency dispatchers.

The fire involved some buildings in the area, but no injuries were reported.

Temperatures in Wichita are expected to rebound into the 60s for the rest of the week, said Chris Jakub, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita. Light winds between 10 mph to 15 mph are expected.

In Wichita, winds gusts peaked at 55 mph on Wednesday, according to the weather service.

Contributing: Stan Finger of The Eagle

Matt Riedl: 316-268-6660, @RiedlMatt