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Hays might bear 'brunt' of storm

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

It's a winter storm watch now, but meteorologist Frederick Kruse is expecting to see that upgraded as the day wears on and computer models get a better look at an approaching snowstorm.

"It's looking more and more likely that Hays will bear the brunt of the storm," said Kruse, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dodge City.

Snowfall amounts are forecast at anywhere from 8 to 12 inches beginning Wednesday, and Kruse said there's already a lot of confidence in the forecast.

While the forecast continues to be adjusted, depending on the exact track of the approaching weather system, there's little to detract from what already has been suggested.

The National Weather Service on Monday issued a winter storm watch, a precursor to an advancing system that is packing a punch and the possibility of heavy snow or freezing precipitation.

How much snow falls will depend, in part, on how much of the moisture falling comes in the form of either freezing drizzle or freezing rain.

"In the Hays area, we're expecting more of the snow than the freezing precipitation," Kruse said.

While that's sure not to upset many people, it's the forecast for heavy snow -- accompanied by strong winds -- that will bear watching.

"All of the models are suggesting large amounts of snow," he said.

There will be several new forecasts issued throughout the day, and Kruse said it's likely they will put the Hays area into a winter storm warning because of the heavy snow and forecast for wind.

"The question is, how much freezing rain is mixed in?" he said of the forecast.

But the low bringing the threat of snow is tracking more to the south than initially thought, and that's increasing the threat of heavier snow.

Currently, the winter storm watch is in effect from 6 a.m. Wednesday to 7 p.m. Thursday.