A winter storm system is forecast to impact portions of western Kansas with possible accumulating snowfall and gusty winds through the overnight hours of Thursday/early morning hours of Friday. Portions of central and eastern Kansas, including the Great Bend area, are expected to receive rain and perhaps snow.
According to the National Weather Service office in Wichita, there is a 30 percent chance of rain, mixing with snow after 9 a.m. in Barton County Thursday, then gradually ending.
The balance of the day should be cloudy, with the temperature falling to around 29 by 5 p.m.
The Thursday forecast also calls for blustery conditions, with a northwest wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 34 mph. Thursday night should remain mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. The wind will also stick around with gusts as high as 29 mph.
On Friday, the sun should peek through, with a high near 30. Expect north-northwest wind 11 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.
Meanwhile, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management will be monitoring the storm and is reminding Kansans to make sure their emergency supplies are ready.
“Although blizzard-like conditions are not currently expected, increased winds could cause blowing snow creating visibility issues,” said Angee Morgan, KDEM deputy director. “Just the same, road conditions may become snow packed and icy. Kansans are urged to change or delay their travel plans if possible in these areas until the storm moves through.”
Winter road conditions are accessible by dialing 5-1-1 from your mobile phone anywhere in Kansas; outside Kansas call 1-866-511-5368 (KDOT). Road conditions many also be viewed on the Kansas Department of Transportation website at kandrive.org.
If one must travel, be sure the car’s gas tank is full and have an emergency kit handy. Vehicle emergency kits should include blankets, flashlights, batteries, a cellphone charger, hand warmers, high-energy food snacks, bottled water, necessary medications, a snow shovel, flares and other emergency supplies. Make sure your cellphone is charged and someone is aware of your itinerary, including expected time of arrival.
Information on winter driving tips is available from the Kansas Highway Patrol at kansashighwaypatrol.org/259/Winter-Driving-Tips. One can also follow the Kansas Highway Patrol on Facebook and Twitter at kansashighwaypatrol.org.