WICHITA, Kan. - Schools throughout Kansas canceled classes and state government ground to a halt Tuesday as residents dealt with a winter storm that threatened to bring heavy snow accumulation across the state.
As much as a foot of snow was expected in Topeka, where lawmakers postponed legislative work and state departments urged workers to stay home.
The onset was a little bit later than anticipated in Wichita with about an inch on the ground during the morning commute, said National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Kleinsasser.
Dry air evaporated much of the snow before it hit the ground. Atmospheric conditions also focused the heaviest snowfalls falling in a wide swath from Hutchinson in central Kansas to Topeka in northeast Kansas, where 3 to 4 inches had already fallen on the ground by early morning.
Meteorologists anticipate this will be the biggest storm so far this winter with Topeka getting the brunt of it with a forecast 10 to 12 inches of accumulation. The heaviest snow is expected to fall throughout the morning until early afternoon before tapering off and ending by evening, Kleinsasser said.
"Thanks for braving the elements," Mike Amyx, a barber in downtown Lawrence, told a customer as he exited the shop.
A smaller than normal gathering of parishioners filed in at St. John the Evangelist Church in downtown Lawrence in northeast Kansas. The snow was just starting at the communion service. The Rev. Jeff Ernst left a day earlier for a meeting in Colorado to get ahead of the storm.
Sister Marcella asked the 15 people gathered "to pray for all those who have to go to work today in the weather." The heavier snow began falling as the services ended shortly after 8 a.m.
The rest of the university town was moving much slower with schools out for the day.
Forecast snowfall totals are expected to be more somewhat more modest elsewhere in the state. The Wichita area is likely to see 6 to 9 inches of snow, while northwest Kansas was forecast to get 3 to 6 inches of accumulation. West central Kansas will likely get closer to 6 inches, while southwest Kansas is anticipating 2 to 5 inches of snow.
Major winter snowstorm begins descending on Kansas