A snow blown sidewalk is covered in snow once again as the snow continues falling, on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008, in Spokane, Wash., after a record breaking 17 inches fell over a 24 hour period. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
TOPEKA, Kan. -- With bad weather moving into Western Kansas, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management is reminding everyone, especially people traveling through those areas, to be prepared with an emergency kit.
A strong winter storm system is expected to hit Northwest Kansas between Friday, Feb. 3 and Saturday, Feb. 4. Rain will turn to snow and continue through tomorrow afternoon with a potential for heavy snowfall in some areas. A Blizzard Warning has been issued for several counties in the Northwest area of the state. It remains in effect until 6 p.m. CST on Saturday.
Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Storm Watches or Winter Weather Advisories have been issued for other counties. Significant snowfall is expected with gusting winds up to 50 mph creating whiteout conditions today and diminishing early Saturday. The storm is expected to create dangerous, if not impossible, travel conditions on I-70 and throughout the region. Westbound I-70 is already closed in Colorado from Burlington to Denver.
Heavy rain is expected in East Central, North Central and Northeast Kansas on Friday, changing to snow Saturday morning in the North Central part of the state. Accumulating snow is possible across the entire area by Saturday night.
Kansans are urged to check their home emergency kits to make sure all supplies are present and all expiration dates are good. A home emergency kit should contain all the essentials needed to be self-sustaining for a minimum of three days in case you are snowed in and there is a power outage.
These essentials include nonperishable foods and high-energy snacks, bottled water, sanitary wipes, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, blankets, a safe alternate heat source, medicines, a first-aid kit and other items.
Avoid travel, but if you must be on the road, be sure your car’s emergency kit is packed and ready. It should include the same essentials as your home kit, plus a shove and ice scraper. Make sure you have a full tank of gas before you leave and that your cell phone is fully charged. An in-car charger is also recommended. Check road conditions before you go by going to the Kansas Department of Transportation website http://511.www.ksdot.org or by calling 5-1-1 from your mobile device.
For other winter preparedness information, go to http://www.ksready.gov and click on the Citizens tab.