Just as roads and sidewalks become passable, another snow storm rolling in tonight is predicted to blanket Manhattan in up to 7 inches of snow.
Mary Knapp, state climatologist at Kansas State University, said the difference between this storm and the one that hit Thursday is the wind and the temperatures. She said counties in southwest Kansas have already issued blizzard warnings, and Manhattan is under a winter storm warning until noon Tuesday. Unlike the last storm, winds are predicted to be higher at 20 mph with gusts in excess of 30 mph. Combined with temperatures predicted to remain close to freezing until Sunday, the snow will not naturally melt off streets and sidewalks until early next week.
Knapp said it should be a “wet” snow, with temperatures hovering around 32 degrees, and that is good news for area farmers. She said people don’t typically realize how much snow is needed to produce the equivalent in rain. Thursday’s 9-inch snow equated to just eight-tenths of an inch of rain. To bring the current rain deficit up to normal, she said it would require 100 inches of snow, using a 10-to-1 ratio of snow to rain. Knapp said area farmers will be lucky to get a half-inch of moisture out of the current storm.
Chapman and Abilene schools were closed Monday, as was K-State’s Salina campus. Fort Riley was operating on a two-hour delay.
No area schools had announced closings for Tuesday at press time. For the latest on closings and cancellations, go to www.themercury.com.
For people seeking to be out and about today, city officials said they are monitoring the weather, but as of Monday morning don’t plan on closing or canceling any city activities.
City Manager Ron Fehr said officials do not plan to close or cancel any city functions, but he could not speak for the zoo or parks and rec department. Mike Buchanan, superintendent of the parks and recreation department, said he is waiting until noon to make such decisions. Ella Casey, marketing and development officer at the Sunset Zoo, said zookeepers monitor the weather and “play it by ear.” If the employees have to lock the animals in their shelters, most of which are inaccessible to the public, then the zoo may close early because the public cannot view the animals.
According to the city website, city ordinance requires property owners to clear sidewalks within 36 hours of it snowing or becoming covered in ice or be charged by the city for removal.