Governor Brownback Calls The State's Response To Storms "Outstanding"

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The double storms that hit the state in just a week's time may have many people sick and tired of all the snow.

Governor Sam Brownback and state emergency officials sized up the response in a press conference Wednesday.

Brownback called the response "outstanding." The response cost the state roughly six million dollars, and next time the state will be even better prepared.

"This has been a challenging seven days, to say the least," Governor Brownback started his press conference off with.

And challenging they were. In less than one week, two winter storms blew into Kansas, but emergency crews worked around the clock to ensure Kansans' safety.

"The response to the hazardous conditions that covered the state was tremendous," Brownback said, "thanks to your efforts, Kansans were able to get back to work quickly and safely."

Tuesday morning's storm resulted in six deaths statewide. Two were caused by carbon monoxide poisoining in Kansas City, Kansas, while two were crash fatalities on i-70, one woman in Kansas City was struck by a sliding vehicle while she was walking and a Southwestern elderly woman died from a heart attack and hypothermia while sweeping her steps.

Officials want zero deaths, but say that had the state responded more slowly, it could have been much worse.

"It was an 'all hands on-deck' event and everyone performed exceptionally well," Brownback said.

Most Kansans heeded warnings to stay off the roads, but many cars were stranded nonetheless. The National Guard helped motorists out of snow banks and delivered water.

"For those individuals that maybe didn't take the adequate precautions this time, now's a good time to maybe get ready for the next storm," Major General Lee Tafanelli said, "because in Kansas we know the next storm is right around the corner."

The Kansas economy could have also facd a large set-back if crews neglected the highways.

Kansas Secretary of Transportation Mike King said millions of dollars are made through the highways. "About $175 million dollars worth of goods each day travel on our highways and about $30 million dollars in daily wages, so by us doing our job quickly and efficiently, we were able to keep the economy going."

More than 17,000 mobile devices checked road conditions online, proving that social media played an important role in staying updated in the two storms.

Governor Brownback recognized that. "A big thank you for everybody working together and using social media in particular for this event," he said, "to keep track of people, help people and to keep people advised of where to go, where not to go."


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