Updated: Feb 2
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning for the area and is predicting less than a tenth of an inch of rain across Linn County before the precipitation changes to snow tonight. NWS predicts from 1 to 2 inches of snow tonight (Tuesday) and another 4 to 8 inches during the day on Wednesday into the overnight hours.
Little or no ice accumulation is expected. However, as winds shift to the northwest Tuesday night, gusts as high as 30 mph could create drifting conditions for snow through Wednesday.
Temperatures are expected to drop dramatically over the next few days. Monday's high temperatures of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit will plunge to a bone-chilling minus 2 degrees early Friday morning.
Doug Barlet, Linn County Emergency Management director posted the NWS Winter Storm Warning that called for heavy snow possible with a brief window of freezing rain. According to that warning, total snow accumulations of 6 to 14 inches and ice accumulations of a light glaze are possible.
The storm will particularly affect east central Kansas. Conditions are expected to begin this evening by about 9 p.m. and continue until 6 p.m. on Thursday.
The warning also called for travel to be very difficult to impossible. Hazardous road conditions are expected to impact morning and evening commutes.
Linn County Sheriff Kevin Friend urged drivers to slow down and be more attentive to road conditions. "People should stay home if they can," he said.
If drivers must get out on the highways, they should take special care to give themselves plenty of space between vehicles, he said.
He pointed out that, unlike previous relatively light snows over the past couple of years, a heavy snow like the one expected will be a game-changer. It will make it more challenging to get places for motorists, but it will also slow down responses on 911 calls from all emergency responders.
It also suggested that if you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5-1-1 or you can go to the Kansas Department of Transportation website, kandrive.org.