Winter Storm Watches have been hoisted across a good portion of the Plains and parts of the Midwest including Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin ahead of what is to be a fairly significant winter storm across parts of the Central U.S. Wednesday evening and Thursday.
The highly anticipated storm system which has been advertised and monitored for more than a week, finally made landfall onto the U.S. mainland earlier today (landfall somewhere between southern Oregon and northern California) and will emerge out of the Rockies on Wednesday as a formidable storm.
The presence of strong moisture at all levels of the atmosphere, deep moisture supply from the Gulf of Mexico, and great dynamics aloft including a powerful mid/upper level jet, gives all the reason and confidence that this will be a major winter storm.
Timing: Precipitation begins during the day on Wednesday across Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska. Precipitation will continue through Thursday afternoon/evening across Kansas and Nebraska with the heaviest falling late Wednesday through noontime Thursday. Precipitation spreads into Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, South Dakota, and Iowa throughout Thursday.
Snow Coverage: It is worth noting that there will be a tight gradient between precipitation types, ranging from heavy snow to potentially significant ice accumulations. It is along the I-70 corridor or from a Topeka to Kansas City line that this tight precipitation gradient between snow and ice will occur. Snow will primarily occur along and north of I-70. The corridor of the heaviest snow will fall from Topeka and Kansas City north to Valentine (Nebraska). This is where snowfall amounts greater than 6 inches will occur. The epicenter where 10"+ snow will occur is in the North Platte/Salina region in central Nebraska and north-central Kansas. Anywhere from 9-16" of snow could fall.
Ice Coverage: A lot of the ice will occur mainly south of Interstate 70 across southeastern Kansas, southern Missouri, and northern Arkansas. Significant icing is possible in this region Wednesday night through Thursday night.
Impacts: This storm has the potential to create major travel (air & ground) delays, power outages, and impassable roads, and treacherous driving conditions. In addition to the snow/ice, strong winds could make driving difficult in areas that see snow.
Cities/towns to be impacted includes: Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita, Omaha, Lincoln, Imperial, Valentine, North Platte, Hastings, Grand Island, Dodge City, Springfield, & Salina.
The details on the storm and its impacts are preliminary and are subject to change as the event of the storm is still a ways off. Stay tuned for updates!
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