Kansas National Guard Completes Storm Assistance Mission

By: WIBW News and Weather
By: WIBW News and Weather

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas National Guard soldiers checked on approximately 70 vehicles stopped along snowpacked highways in western Kansas Thursday night.

The Kansas Adjutant General's Office released the figures Friday. It was just part of the state's emergency response to a winter storm system that dumped as much as 14 inches of snow on parts of Kansas.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka, activated Wednesday in advance of the storm, returned to normal operations at noon Friday.

The National Guard was called out Thursday evening to patrol areas of highway shut down due to the heavy snow and number of vehicles stranded. Those included I-70 between Salina and Ellis, US 54 between Minneola and Pratt, and US 400 from Bucklin to Dodge City.

The Adjutant General's Office says 28 soldiers in 14 Humvees traveled nearly 800 miles along the roads. Most of the vehicles they checked were semi trucks. The soldiers passed out water and food, and offered rides to hotels.

The Kansas Highway Patrol also reported a busy day responding to the weather situation. Dispatchers reported about 1700 calls for service in all. KHP had 235 troopers on duty. They handled 106 non-injury accidents, 15 injury accidents and more than 1,400 motorist-assist related service calls, including slide-offs, tows, abandoned vehicles, stranded motorists and other calls.

The state saw no fatality accidents during the weather event.

"I think we can attribute the relatively low numbers of injury accidents across the state and the speed at which roads were cleared to the fact that people heeded the advice from the governor and local officials to stay home," said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

While highways around larger metro areas were in good condition by Friday afternoon, the Kansas Department of Transportation said there were still snowpacked conditions throughout much of the state.

"Road conditions have greatly improved, but we still advise keeping travel to a minimum to give road crews extra time to work on them," Tafanelli said. "It makes things go faster if they don’t have to work around a lot of traffic."

Additional information from the KS Division of Emergency Management:
Governor Sam Brownback signed a State of Disaster Emergency declaration for the entire state on Wednesday and gave several briefings to the media on state response measures. In addition to the governor’s declaration, 11 counties issued local declarations. Those counties were Anderson, Chase, Franklin, Linn, Lyon, Pottawatomie, Osage, Riley, Shawnee, Wabaunsee and Wyandotte.

Locally-operated shelters were open in several communities. Greensburg reported sheltering 35 people. Shelters were also open in Pratt, Quinter, Wakeeney and Wellsville, but those sites did not report anyone staying there.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is reminding the public to use caution as they start to dig out from the storm. Temperatures are forecast to rise to the low 40s by Sunday, but wind chills will still present a danger from frostbite and hypothermia. KDHE officials also urge caution while working outside to avoid over-exertion. For tips on preventing injuries, go to www.kdheks.gov.

Information on emergency preparedness for home and travel may be found at www.ksready.gov, www.redcross.org and www.fema.gov.

Snow Reports Across Kansas:

18.00" Hays, KS
14.00" WICHITA, KS
14.00" ROSSVILLE, SHAWNEE CO.
13.00" LEBO, COFFEY CO.
12.00" LYNDON, OSAGE CO.
11.00" AUBURN, SHAWNEE CO.
10.60" LAWRENCE, DOUGLAS CO.
10.50" ALTA VISTA, WABAUNSEE CO.
10.10" OSAGE CITY, OSAGE CO.
10.00" TOPEKA WIBW-TV, SHAWNEE CO.
10.00" EMPORIA, LYON CO.
10.00" OVERBROOK, OSAGE CO.
10.00" QUENEMO, OSAGE CO.
9.50" DELPHOS, OTTAWA CO.
9.50" WELLSVILLE, FRANKLIN CO.
9.40" TOPEKA BILLARD AIRPORT, SHAWNEE CO.
9.20" HOLTON, JACKSON CO.
9.00" OLPE, LYON CO.
9.00" HOYT, JACKSON CO.
9.00" TOPEKA FORBES FIELD, SHAWNEE CO.
9.00" AMERICUS, LYON CO.
8.50" PERRY LAKE, JEFFERSON CO.
8.40" LAWRENCE, DOUGLAS CO.
8.00" WAKEFIELD, CLAY CO.
8.00" MERIDEN, JEFFERSON CO.
8.00" CONCORDIA, CLOUD CO.
8.00" WESTMORELAND, POTTAWATOMIE CO.
8.00" EUDORA, DOUGLAS CO.
8.00" PRINCETON, FRANKLIN CO.
8.00" FORBES FIELD, SHAWNEE CO.
7.50" QUENEMO, OSAGE CO.
7.00" MANHATTAN, RILEY CO.
7.00" NEW STRAWN, COFFEY CO.
7.00" WINCHESTER, JEFFERSON CO.
6.60" WAMEGO, POTTAWATOMIE CO.
6.50" OZAWKIE, JEFFERSON CO.
6.50" WAKEFIELD, CLAY CO.
6.00" CONCORDIA, CLOUD CO.
6.00" KEATS, RILEY CO.
6.00" E MANHATTAN, RILEY CO.
4.50" BAILEYVILLE, MARSHALL CO.
4.00" BLUE RAPIDS, MARSHALL CO.


Posted Thursday:
TOPEKA (WIBW)-- The main energy with a very powerful winter storm will move across Eastern Kansas Thursday. Thundersnow was observed in many areas of Eastern Kansas this morning, creating snowfall rates of over 3 inches per hour.

At WIBW in Topeka, meteorologists measured 7.5 inches of snow that fell in just two hours between 7-9AM. The heavy snow will continue to make travel extremely difficult, if not impossible at times. Additional moderate snow showers are expected this afternoon as the snow continues to pile up. Freezing drizzle has also been falling this afternoon and that may cause some icy patches on road/sidewalks. The accumulating snow should be over by Midnight tonight with a few flurries lingering into Sunrise Friday. Along with the very heavy snow, winds will be gusting, out of the East, up to 30mph. This will create visibilities to be near zero at times and some drifting snow will be a concern.

A widespread area of 8+ inches of snow will be likely across a majority of the state with the potential for over 15 inches in some locations.

The entire state of Kansas is under a Winter Storm Warning as this system will have wide-ranging impacts with heavy snow for the majority of the state and an ice storm possible across Eastcentral and Southeast Kansas, areas along and SE of the Interstate 35.

The Topeka Police Department preemptively entered Phase III Accident Reporting at 1 a.m. Thursday. That means officers will investigate only injury, hit & run, and accidents with disabling vehicle damage. Refer all other accidents or traffic situations to police headquarters at your earliest convenience.

Forecast:

Friday - Partly Sunny but cold. Highs in the 20s.

Saturday - Sunny but cold. Highs in the 20s/30s.



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