TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Gov. Sam Brownback has some advice for people to get through the winter storm.
"Stay home," he said during a Tuesday afternoon briefing. "Don't make yourself a victim.
Brownback joined Kansas Adjutant General Lee Tafanelli to update the state's respone to the winter weather. They said the hardest-hit area is a corner of southeast Kansas, where so many motorists are stranded in some parts, the snowplows can't get through.
Tafanelli says the current response is a coordinated effort, including the Kansas National Guard, Highway Patrol, Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of Health and Environment, SRS and FEMA. He says the Guard has 16 people and 4 humvees deployed in Cherokee County helping to transport medical personnel to and from the hospital. He says additonal troops are assisting the Highway Patrol in rescuing stranded motorists and clearing vehicles from the roadway. In addition, he says, several armories are open as shelters and counties have identified additional shelter possibilities, although there were no reports of people utilizing any shelters as of mid-afternoon Tuesday.
Tafanelli and Brownback agreed the biggest concerns right now are the wind speeds which will drive the additional snow accumulation back over the roads, and the dangerous wind chills that will come with the winds. Brownback says snow plows are doing the best they can to clear the roads, but, minutes after they've been through, the snow has blown back over.
Brownback says all state and local resources are deployed for the storm response. In addition, he declared a state of emergency Thursday morning for 53 counties. He says the declaration gives the Tafanelli and the Kansas Division of Emergency Management the authority to coordinate and share resources. It also paves the way for a federal declaration request for financial assistance, should it become necessary.
State offices in Topeka and Shawnee County were closed Tuesday due to the weather. Brownback said a decision would be made Tuesday evening on whether they would take the action for a second day.