March Comes in Like a Lion (3/2/2002)

By: Robb Lawson, Bruce Wightman, Hayden Frank, and Paul Howerton

Arctic Air and Snow Return to Central and Southeast Kansas.

A powerful low pressure system took shape over New Mexico by Friday morning March 1st. This allowed plenty of Gulf moisture to stream northward. As this storm intensified, a few bands of precipitation began to break out across Central and Southeast Kansas. A mix of snow and sleet was reported Friday afternoon across areas generally northwest of a Hutchinson to McPherson line. Snowfall totals across this region during the afternoon were generally less than 1 inch. The heaviest snows Friday afternoon were confined to South-Central Nebraska. The remainder of South Central and Southeast Kansas saw primarily rain.

Much colder air raced into the area Friday evening as the Low Pressure System tracked into West Texas. A piece of upper level energy combined with the cold air to form a more intense band of snow Friday night. Between 10 pm and midnight, moderate to heavy snow began falling along and to the southeast of a Hutchinson to McPherson line. Notherly winds gusting to between 30 and 40 mph resulted in near blizzard conditions for a few hours, reducing visibilities to under one quarter of a mile at times. The snow was also convective in nature, and there was some thunder and lightning reported, especially in Southeast Kansas. All though the snow was short lived, some locations reported snowfall rates in excess of an inch per hour.

The snow came to an end Saturday morning from west to east. However, strong winds continued to cause blowing and drifting of the very powdery snow. Snowfall totals generally ranged from between 1 and 3 inches over North Central Kansas, 2-4 inches over South Central Kansas, and 3-5 inches in Southeast Kansas. A few isolated spots in Southeast Kansas received 6 inches of powdery snow. See image 1 for graphic of snowfall amounts.

The 3.5 inches of snow that fell at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport was the most measured from one storm, since way back on December 12th and 13th of 2000. During that event, there was a total of 4.0 inches.

Here are the Snowfall Totals in Inches Ending Saturday Morning:
    Russell:    1-2
    Barton:     1-2
    Lincoln:    1-2
    Ellsworth:  1-2
    Rice:       1-2
    Saline:     1-2
    McPherson:  1-2
    Reno:       2-3
    Kingman:    2-3
    Harper:     2-3
    Marion:     3-4
    Harvey:     2-3
    Sedgwick:   2-4
    Sumner:     2-3
    Chase:      2-3
    Butler:     2-3
    Cowley:     3-5
    Greenwood:  3-6
    Allen:      3-6
    Elk:        2-3
    Chautauqua: 3-4
    Woodson:    3-4
    Wilson:     2-5
    Montgomery: 3-5
    Labette:    3-5

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