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Unusual weather




Even for Kansas, Tuesday's weather was unusual.

But it was exciting to one meteorologist who had the chance to watch as the storm system unfolded, as an intense, fast-moving cold front swept through northwest Kansas.

In its wake, the ground turned white in some areas.

But not with snow.

It was hail, even though the thermometer stood at 26 to 28 degrees.

"Yesterday was very unusual," said Kelly Sugden, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dodge City.

The storm prompted the Kansas Department of Transportation to close both directions of travel on Interstate 70 at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday from the Colorado line to Goodland. The highway was reopened at 7 this morning.

The unusual weather was caused by a band of cold weather in the lower atmosphere, but unusually warm and unstable aloft, more than 5,000 feet up.

"It was odd and exciting," Sugden said.

Yes, he called it exciting.

"I thought it was so exciting because it was so unusual," he said.

Sugden also was glad to see it move out of the western half of the state because as it progressed eastward, freezing rain started falling, straining powerlines and tree branches.

Sugden said the largest hail reported Tuesday -- among a multitude of hail reports issued -- came approximately 2 miles south of Hays. There, the hail reportedly was the size of golf balls.

Despite a series of severe thunderstorm warnings, other than hail, little else developed.

The speed and the strength of the front undercut the threat of severe weather.

Despite cold temperatures Tuesday and today, there is a warming trend.

Temperatures should return into the 60s and perhaps even the 70s by the time the weekend hits.