Freezing Temperatures and Wind Gusts Made For Difficult Commute

By: Sarah Plake, Eric Ives Email
By: Sarah Plake, Eric Ives Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- They say there's no feeling like waking up to snowflakes on the ground. Well, Topeka was blanketed in something its residents didn't see too much of last winter, and that was snow. Last year brought only about three inches total, and the capital city got just about that much in one day.

It wasn't the amount of snow that made for a severe weather advisory day, it was the gusting winds up to 50 miles per hour that made it almost impossible to see while driving on the highway in the early morning roads on Thursday.

The below-freezing temperatures froze the fresh rain on the ground, which required city maintenance crews to work through the night plowing and salting streets.

Director of Street Maintenance Ron Raines said it was hard to time the storm since the rain didn't turn into snow until after 1 a.m. They had a head start but the wind blowing the snow covered everything up quickly.

City maintenance had 10 trucks out across the city, plowing while Shawnee County kids woke up to find school was closed for the day.

Governor Brownback announced the state office buildings downtown would open later at 10 a.m., so the snow would be cleared by then.

Raines said although there are challenges, things went smoothly.

"Things have [gone] pretty well all night," he said. "I think we had one truck that we had some minor issues with but things went well. Equipment performed, staff was ready."

The police department went into Phase Three Accident Response, only responding to injuries, hit-and-runs and accidents that disabled the vehicle.


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