Winter storm warning in effect for Douglas County starting Thursday
Watch in effect until Friday afternoon
Highway patrol troopers said the roads in parts of western Kansas are already treacherous and people in Northeast Kansas should think ahead as the weather moves this way.
“It’s kind of hard to stay on the roads. You’ve got to go slow,” said Jason Juhan, a clerk at the Love’s truck stop in Goodland. “People are just trying to get through and get to where they need to as fast as they can.”
Still, he saw an upside to the weather: “It’s been a few years since we’ve actually had a white Christmas out this way.”
Trooper are encouraging people not to be on the roads during the winter storm, unless they absolutely have to.
“Law enforcement will be out encouraging the public to drive safely, to slow down, to increase their following distance,” said Trooper Edna Buttler, highway patrol spokeswoman. “Everyone needs to take their time and slow down and be patient and be prepared.”
Emergency managers said weather was blamed for a Tuesday night accident in Thomas County that killed a couple from Fort Smith, Ark.
As more accidents pop up, Buttler encouraged drivers to move out of the way of emergency workers.
She also encouraged people to carry blankets, window washer fluid and an ice scraper in their cars, for safety.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Douglas County and surrounding areas from noon Thursday until 6 p.m. Friday.
The National Weather Service predicts 6 to 8 inches of snow accumulation across the region as well as strong, blowing winds. Any travel is strongly discouraged while the winter storm warning is in effect.
The latest predictions from the National Weather Service are in and as of 2:30, snowfall accumulation is predicted to be about 6 inches in Douglas County by the time the storm moves out Friday afternoon.
6News Meteorologist Greg Postel said he expected the majority of the snow to arrive between about 4 p.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday, Christmas morning. Some models, he said, are predicting more snow, others slightly less.
He said one of the biggest concerns would be wind gusts of up to 40 mph on Friday, which could lead to blizzard-like condition on Christmas Day.
It became very foggy in Baldwin City around 10 a.m., then the lighting and thunder started. at about 10:45 a.m., the rain started pouring down.
Just after 11 a.m., the rain had all but stopped.
The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Anderson County earlier this morning. The storm was tracking north-northeast toward Douglas County.
About 10:15, the warning was allowed to expire but the storm has been producing non-severe level hail for much of the morning.
The Kansas Highway Patrol reported numerous crashes in the western part of the state, including a double fatality collision in Thomas County near Colby. The patrol said an eastbound car on icy Interstate 70 spun out of control Tuesday night, crossed the median and was struck by a westbound tractor-trailer, killing both people in the car.
The storm that's currently dumping rain on Lawrence was expected to dump more than a foot of snow on parts of Colorado and southern Utah by midday Wednesday, and blow east into the Plains states through Christmas Day. Blizzard warnings were likely on Christmas Eve in Kansas.
As of Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service was projecting 6+ inches of snow across Northeast Kansas from Topeka, east.
— The Associated Press contributed to this update.
Rain continues to fall as the area has recorded about two-tenths of an inch of precipitation so far this morning. Driving conditions will be less favorable with the wet conditions.
The National Weather Service has announced a winter storm watch is in effect for Douglas County, including Baldwin City.
The watch is in effect from this evening until Friday afternoon. Light freezing rain is expected to fall Wednesday across the area, turning to rain around midday today. The rain is then expected to change to snow Wednesday night, with moderate to heavy snowfall possible through Friday morning.
Traveling during this time could be dangerous, as snowfall totals for the storm are estimated to be around six inches and above with winds gusting as high as 45 miles per hour.