Kansas In State Of Emergency After Heavy Snowfall

By: Amanda Bossard Email
By: Amanda Bossard Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- As snow continues to pile up, a state of emergency has been declared for the state of Kansas, as well as many counties and cities, including Topeka and Shawnee County.

Governor Sam Brownback says the National Guard has been called in to monitor parts of I-70 between Salina and Colby and Highway 54 in Southwest Kansas, which are closed, but drivers remain stranded.

"This is the biggest snow event we've had in several years," said Brownback. "So we're ready to handle snow, but just don't push it if you don't have to."

In the days leading up to the storm, Brownback urged people to stay off the roads and says many people got the message.

"A lot of people have heeded the warnings which has really helped us with being able to keep the roads as clean as you can with this much snow coming down," said Brownback.

There have been some car accidents across the state, but no serious injuries or fatalities. Emergency management officials will work with the National Guard through the evening to monitor roadways as the storm progresses.

"The state agencies continue to work close together to make sure we have a very synchronized and coordinated response effort," said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, adjunct and general director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. "We're working with our affected counties across the state to ensure that any request that they might have, we're able to work on that."

Shawnee County declared a local disaster emergency this morning. The City of Topeka issued a traffic emergency proclamation soon after. Many local businesses, including all stores in the West Ridge Mall and Manhattan Town Center, took note and remained closed for the day. People in Topeka say they wouldn't be out in this weather even if places were open.

"I just hate the roads, hate this weather," said resident Gage Stevens. "It just causes wrecks."

"Actually this is the first time I got out, said Leonard Swikert. "And our street hasn't been plowed and I got stuck right back here in 10th Street and for the last ten minutes, I've been digging myself out."

The governor says the state has about 1000 emergency personnel working to help those affected by the snow. KDOT officials say relief efforts will likely cost $2-3 million.


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