Winter Storm Strikes Early in 2005 (1/5/2005)

By: Paul Howerton

A major winter storm brings a wide range of adverse weather to the area.

The first round of the storm began with light freezing drizzle during the afternoon of January third in central Kansas. The freezing drizzle turned to freezing rain that evening, as an area of low pressure aloft moved across the area. With temperatures over south central Kansas remaining near freezing, much of the ice accumulation was limited to elevated surfaces. Meanwhile locally heavy rain fell along the Oklahoma border as abundant moisture streamed north, and was lifted over the cold air.

After a brief reprieve on Monday, the second round of the storm struck on Tuesday and persisted into Wednesday, January fourth. This round saw significant icing occur over much of central and south central Kansas, with widespread reports of 1/4 to 1/2 inch amounts of ice, generally north of a line from Harper to Wichita to El Dorado. To the south of this line, a swath of sleet occurred. In southeast Kansas, a mix of sleet and freezing rain occurred.

Reports of downed trees (image 2) and powerlines were widespread across central and south central Kansas. Over 50,000 people were without power at one point in Sedgwick county according to Westar Energy. (image 3) (image 4)

The precipitation turned to snow across central Kansas Tuesday night and south central Kansas Wednesday morning, in response to a reinforcing surge of artic air. Gusty winds associated with this surge of cold air, further aggravated the icing problems.

In addition to the winter weather, very heavy rain fell roughly along and south of highway 400. Reports of 2 to 3 inches of rain were common across southeast Kansas and extreme south central Kansas. Rainfall topped 4 inches at Caldwell and Longton. Flood warnings were issued for all of southeast Kansas. Flooding was still occurring Wednesday morning across Labette, Montgomery and Neosho counties.

See image 1 for radar estimated precipitation.

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