Freezing drizzle turns to snow late tonight, cold winds Thursday into Friday

0206 winter wx advisory

*A winter weather advisory remains in effect for all of northeast Kansas through 6 am on Thursday.*

Areas of freezing drizzle will continue to be a concern for the rest of the day, resulting in a thin glaze of ice in places. Even a light glazing of ice is enough to create slick roads and pavements, so take it nice and easy out there!

It will continue to mainly be just chances of freezing drizzle through the afternoon as a warm layer of air continues to sit higher up in the atmosphere, as opposed to temperatures closer to the surface staying in the teens and 20s. 

There’s not a whole lot of moisture to work with currently, but as the drizzle falls, it will continue to immediately freeze upon contact due to the subfreezing temperatures at the surface.

However, better plumes of moisture are expected to work in later this evening. Temperatures at a higher level will continue to be above freezing shortly after sunset, with teens and 20s closer to the surface. That will result in better chances of freezing rain as opposed to drizzle, but eventually the colder air will start to infilitrate the higher levels as our next arctic cold front moves in.

What does that mean for? The precipitation will start to transition over from forming as rain at first, to more of a frozen variety, lessening the chance of freezing rain and drizzle. But, this colder air will move in from northwest to southeast, so that change over will take a little longer to reach some areas as opposed to others.

The best chance of freezing rain late this evening into Thursday morning will be for the southeastern areas as they hold onto the above freezing temperatures higher up in the atmosphere the longest. 

A transition over from freezing rain/drizzle, to sleet, and finally snow, will happen first to the northwest-west, and gradually spread to the east-southeast as that cold front completely clears the region Thursday morning.

For the morning commute on Thursday, the most impact looks to hone in on the eastern half of the region. Much of that moisture will have worked out of the western half by sunrise, aside from a few stray flurries and light snow showers here and there.

A wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow will continue to push off to the east as the morning progresses, and all of northeast Kansas looks to dry out by noon on Thursday, with a gradually clearing sky for the second half of the day.

Ice accretions aren’t expected to be enough to cause major issues, like bringing down tree limbs or power lines, but slick spots will be a concern for the rest of today into Thursday. Snow accumulations won’t be all too much either. By the time the transition over to snow completely happens, it’ll only be a quick burst of it before the system completely clears out. That will result in little to no accumulation as totals stay below 2 inches.

Not only could you run into some wintry precipitation Thursday morning, but it will be bitterly cold. That arctic cold front will bring with it some strong north and northwest winds. Winds will be sustained at 20 to 25 mph, but gusts could exceed 30 mph at times. Morning temperatures in the teens will feel more like the single digits, and even a few degrees below zero for some northern areas.

Temperatures themselves won’t rebound much for Thursday either. Even as some sunshine emerges, high temperatures will only get into the teens and 20s. Couple that with that high wind, and wind chills throughout the day will continue to stay in the single digits and a few degrees below zero.

The wind will gradually start to lighten up Thursday night into Friday morning as temperatures bottom out in the single digits for the southern half of the region, with lows right around 0° for the northern half. With temperatures already that cold, it doesn’t take much of a breeze to add that extra cold bite to the air. 

With a morning wind of just 5 to 10 mph, wind chills will range from right around 0° to the south, to closer to -10° to -15° further to the north and northwest.

Some improvement finally returns for Friday afternoon. A mostly sunny sky will go along with high temperatures in the upper teens through the mid 20s, with wind chills pretty close to that throughout the day. 

It gets even warmer for the weekend, just not quite as warm as last weekend. Saturday and Sunday will see highs in the 30s and low 40s, but there will be another chance of snow Saturday night into Sunday morning.

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