Heavy Snowfall Impacts Portions of Southeastern Kansas, Jan 1-2, 2003 (1/2/2003)

By: Jim Caruso

A narrow swath of heavy snowfall affected Southeastern Kansas, beginning during the evening of New year's Day and continued into the overnight hours.

An upper level storm system that originated in the eastern Pacific, moved across the Great Basin Tuesday Night. This system intensified as it moved across southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma on New year's Day and Wednesday Night.

The initial precipitation began as sleet around 6 pm CST on New Year's Day in a 30 to 40 mile wide narrow swath over Southeastern Kansas (Image 1). The precipitation quickly changed over to all snow within about an hour. The snow came down heavily between about 6 pm and midnight in this narrow swath. See image 2 for a plot of observed snowfall in Southeastern Kansas. Outside of this heavy snowfall swath in Southeastern Kansas, snowfall amounts ranged from only a trace to 2 inches. Little more than a few flurries affected Central and South Central Kansas as this storm system moved through.

The National Weather Service in Wichita issued a Winter Storm Watch at 2:54 pm CST, Tuesday December 31st. This Watch indicated the potential for 5 to 10 inches of snowfall across the affected counties in Southeastern Kansas. Lead times for this Watch were 30-34 hrs. The Watch was then upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning at 10:35 am CST, Wednesday January 1st. This Warning was in effect from Wednesday night through early Thursday morning for 11 counties in Southeastern Kansas. 6 out of 11 of those counties in the Warning received heavy snowfall of around 6 inches.

Although this storm system was strengthening and taking a very favorable track to produce heavy snowfall in Kansas, it was also a bit moisture starved. Although sufficient moisture was able to get drawn into Southeastern Kansas Wednesday Evening, it was too late for Central and South Central Kansas which were left dry for the most part.

See image 3 for another radar image of the heavy snowfall from Wednesday Evening. Image 4 is a GOES 8 Visible Satellite Image, taken on Friday afternoon, January 3rd, which reveals the remnant swath of snow cover over Southeastern Kansas.

This story was brought to you by the National Weather Service - Wichita, Kansas.

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