A storm system will bring heavy snowfall to portions of the southern Plains region of the US through Dec. 3. The affected areas include southwestern and south central Kansas, northwestern Oklahoma, and northeastern Texas. As of midday Dec. 2, snow is falling across southeastern Colorado, the Texas Panhandle, southwestern Kansas, and northwestern Oklahoma, while rain is falling in central Oklahoma. Forecast models indicate the precipitation in those regions will become steadier throughout the day and will persist until around midday Dec. 3. The rain may briefly change over to snow in some locations. Snowfall rates may exceed 2.5 cm (1 inch) per hour in the hardest-hit areas.
As of Dec. 2, the US National Weather Service (NWS) has issued winter storm warnings for the northeastern Texas Panhandle, northwestern Oklahoma, and south-central Kansas; this area includes Woodward and Enid. Winter weather advisories are also in effect for the rest of south-central and southwestern Kansas, southeastern Colorado, the northern Texas Panhandle, the Oklahoma Panhandle, and central Oklahoma. This area includes Dodge City and Liberal. Authorities may issue new alerts or update/rescind existing advisories as the winter storm transits the region over the coming days.
The latest forecast guidance indicates the most snow will fall in a narrow swath extending from southwestern Kansas to northwestern Oklahoma, where 15-30 cm (6-12 inches) are expected. Snowfall totals of 7.5-15 cm (3-6 inches) are expected in south central Kansas, north central Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Panhandle. Lower amounts are expected in the western portions of the affected area, where less precipitation will fall, and farther east in Kansas and Oklahoma, where the snow will mix with rain. Strong wind gusts could lead to periods of blowing and drifting snow. Sporadic power outages are possible throughout the affected area.
The inclement weather will likely cause widespread ground and air transport disruptions across the affected area through at least Dec. 3. Traffic and commercial trucking delays are possible along regional highways. Difficult and potentially dangerous driving conditions are also likely on secondary and rural roadways as maintenance crews prioritize clearing major routes. Authorities could close stretches of highway if driving conditions become too hazardous. Gusty winds may threaten to topple high-profile vehicles. Heavy wet snow and strong winds could bring down power lines and trees with foliage. Flight delays and cancellations are likely due to ground stops and deicing operations at regional airports.
Monitor local media for updated weather information. Verify road conditions before driving in areas where heavy snowfall is forecast. Allow extra time to reach destinations in these areas and carry an emergency kit and warm clothes if driving is necessary, especially on secondary or rural routes that could become impassable. Plan accordingly for delivery delays if routing shipments by truck through the affected area through at least Dec. 3. Confirm flights. Charge battery-powered devices in the case of prolonged electricity outages.
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