Finger on the Weather

Wichita weather for Monday: Cloudy and drizzly early

A thick layer of ice covers leaves on a downed tree Sunday in Hutchinson.
A thick layer of ice covers leaves on a downed tree Sunday in Hutchinson. Associated Press

Just a few degrees meant the difference between a cold rain and a fresh sheen of ice for the Wichita area late Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Lows in Wichita fell to 34, a couple of degrees above freezing. That meant the Monday morning commute would be wet but not icy.

Portions of the state northwest of Wichita were not as fortunate, as another round of freezing rain added a fresh glaze to an area still reeling from an icy weekend. Westar Energy crews were still working to restore power to more than 4,400 customers in Reno County.

Westar officials reported “significant damage” in and around Hutchinson and said it could be Wednesday before all power is restored. Abilene, Junction City and Manhattan along I-70 were also hit hard by icing, and Westar reports it could be Tuesday before power is restored to all customers in that area.

Trees across Reno County were bent so low by ice that branches touched the ground, icicles hung from fences and road signs and power lines looked to have crystal necklaces. Trees and other vegetation across central Kansas appeared heavily frosted by Mother Nature.

Monday won’t offer much relief, with a winter storm warning until noon for eight counties in central Kansas, including portions of the Wichita metropolitan area: Reno, Harvey, Kingman, Chase, Marion, Saline, Rice and McPherson.

Wichita could see a mix of rain and snow through mid-day Monday, forecasters say, with highs peaking in the upper 30s. Skies will gradually clear later in the day, with overnight lows falling into the 20s.

Tuesday will start a slight warmup in the region, with highs in the mid-40s under sunny skies. Temperatures will be in the 40s or low 50s the rest of the week, forecasters say.

For more information on current conditions, go to our weather page.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger