More ice now?? The warm layer aloft has now reared its ugly head in the GFS and NAM models. Originally, it appeared that the 800-750mb warm layer would not be significant enough to cause problems with respect to mixed phase precipitation, but there’s no denying the big warm layer shown in the NAM and GFS model soundings for late Friday into Saturday. There could now be a significant ice storm for portions of Southwest Kansas immediately east of the heavy snow area. The "cold wedge" in the low levels is beginning to develop and overwhelm western Kansas. There are a bunch of surface obs around 33 to 35°F from Elkhart to Hugoton-Ulysses to Johnson in far southwest Kansas. It is 36F now in Garden City at 1am early Friday morning on a north-northeast wind. This shallow cold wedge usually throws a big wrench in things because models have a difficult time handling this common aspect of high plains weather. The 32F line is slowly working its way southeast…and will continue to overtake Southwest Kansas during the day Friday…with rain becoming freezing rain. In fact, the NAM and GFS show indications of freezing rain here in Dodge City as early as Friday evening….with still an abundant of precipitation yet to go through. It still appears as if widespread 2-3" storm total liquid equivalent precipitation will be realized over a good chunk of the region.
As far as the snow situation goes… it looks like the majority of the precipitation will be snow over far Southwest Kansas after midday today mainly west of Ulysses-Hugoton-Lakin. However, given the magnitude of the warm layer aloft, they even may not change over to all snow until early evening. By this evening, very strong winds north winds will develop with gusts in the 40-50mph range in this area where the snow will most likely fall. I think 8-12" will be common west of Ulysses-Hugoton-Lakin with blizzard conditions prevailing overnight tonight into Saturday.
It’s 48F here in Dodge City, but the slooooowly moving front is going to be pushing through over the next couple hours it appears. Below is the 1am CST 12/29 surface map over Southwest Kansas