Thousands Remain Without Power in Riley County

By: Brian Dorman Email
By: Brian Dorman Email

We set of Wednesday morning at 4AM and headed to Wamego where residents were reporting being hit hard by the ice storm.

The drive on West I-70 & Highway 99 was fine with just wet road conditions. The major problem in Wamego were reports of several homes without power.

Wednesday morning Chief of Police for Wamego Mike Baker said more than half of the Pottwawatomie County was without power.

"It is the worst ice storm I have seen in at least 10 years," Baker said.

The ice was accumulating so quickly back at our station Topeka that we were unable to get a signal back from our Satellite truck we took out there to go live and had to resort to live phone interviews.

All schools county wide were closed including USD 320 in Wamego. Easily an inch of ice accumulated by morning there.

"It hasn't stopped since it started last night at 6:00PM," Baker added.

We left Wamego after 6AM and headed down Highway 24 to Manhattan. Things became considerable worse the further west we drove. Once the skies became lighter the extent of the storm damage was becoming obvious.

As we pulled into Manhattan onto Tuttle Creek Blvd. we noticed numerous traffic lights were out. Along Tuttle Creek Blvd. the Walmart, K-Mart, ACE Hardware, hotels, gas stations, and Best Buy all were in the dark.

Pat Collins with Riley County Emergency Management said that the east side of Manhattan had been reporting power outages all morning.

If you come to a traffic signal that is not working you need to follow the right of way and treat it as a 4-way stop.

It was the worse ice storm Collins says he has seen since the early 90's yet says it could have been a lot worse had the temperature been just a few degrees lower impacting the roadways.

A mobile home part in Manhattan was hit especially hard with tree branches blocking entry ways to one persons home. Power lines were clipped and laying on the ground. While there branches fell all around us as the freezing rain kept changing back and fourth to sleet.

Kansas State University is closed due to the severity of the weather.


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