Monday, December 19, 2011

Update on Central / Southern Plains Winter Storm...

As you can see on the radar mosaic image above, snow is widespread and increasing in intensity across the northwestern half of Kansas, much of eastern Colorado, northeast New Mexico and portions of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandle region at this hour.

During the past hour, a report from Springfield, Colorado (near the intersection of Kansas/Colorado and Oklahoma) indicated 9 inches of snow on the ground with drifts up to 2 feet deep.  Much of Lane County, Kansas, including the Dighton area, are reporting 6 inches of snow with blowing and drifting.  

Even more important for travelers, I-70 is becoming very hazardous from near Colby through west of Salina.  Snow is increasing across this region and the roadway will become even more dangerous as the evening progresses, and into tonight.  As snow accumulates, it will begin to blow and drift, causing even more hazardous conditions.

The latest Warning map is shown below:

Blizzard Warnings are shown in orange, with Winter Storm Warnings in pink.  The tan shaded areas represent Winter Weather Advisories.  Please use this map to go to the local National Weather Service office for your area and obtain site-specific warning information.

The GFS forecast model continues to indicate 10-14 inches of snow near the Kansas/Colorado border in southwest Kansas and southeast Colorado by midday Tuesday, with a widespread swath of 8-12 inches from southeast Colorado into southwest and west-central Kansas by the same time:

Here is what the experimental High Resolution, Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model is calling for, as far as snow depth is concerned, valid 2am CST Tuesday morning (scale in inches at bottom of image):

The red areas along the southeast Colorado / southwest Kansas border indicate 12-18 inches of snow being forecast by this model.  The darker orange areas surrounding that, over much of southeast Colorado, southwest and west-central Kansas indicate a forecast of 10-12 inches of snow.

Add strong and gusty North winds to the above and we will continue to see full fledged blizzard conditions across much of the region.  Needless to say, travel is highly discouraged.

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