A strong winter storm has pushed out of the Rocky Mountains and into Kansas forcing some issues, especially in the central and western parts of the state.

A strong winter storm has pushed out of the Rocky Mountains and into Kansas forcing some issues, especially in the central and western parts of the state.
Southeast Kansas will not be immune to the storm according to John Gagan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, Mo.
“As we get into Saturday and the center of the storm moves east, it is going to try to pull down that colder air in northern Kansas,” Gagan said. “As that happens, we will see that rain start to change over to snow.”
He said, on Friday, areas of western Kansas including Pratt, was getting what is called thunder snow — which means snow accumulations are upwards of 2-3 inches per hour.
“There is very intense snow out in western Kansas right now,” Gagan said. “That snow is coupled with thunder which makes the snowfall very intense.”
However, the question with the National Weather Service is just how much snow Pittsburg and southeast Kansas will get.
“In order to get an accumulation of snow, we are going to have to see intense snowfall,” he said. “That is a question that we don’t have answered right now but, we are confident that we will see rain and that will change over to snow into the day Saturday.
“In southeast Kansas, we are right on the edge of where the large part of the storm is going to be. We are confident that we are going to get precipitation but we are not yet confident to know just how much.”
Gagan said that storms of this variety, this late in the season, can happen in southeast Kansas but, their frequency is rare.
“Typically, systems like this are few and far between and happen maybe once every five years,” Gagan said. “Usually, this time of year, you see these types of systems be to the north.”
The reason Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri are being affected by this storm is mainly due to its origin.
“It started in the Pacific Northwest and it has been tracking south. Usually, systems like this will move out of the Rockies and to the north,” Gagan said. “It is nothing Earth-shattering but, it is something that is a little rare.”

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140