Disaster declaration issued for western Kansas

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- With winter weather bearing down on western Kansas, the state is already making emergency preparations.

On Wednesday, Gov. Jeff Colyer declared a state of disaster emergency for the western part of the state, authorizing the use of state resources and personnel to help the affected regions.

“It is important to be prepared when we see a winter event like this approaching, and we appreciate our emergency responders who stand ready to provide any aide that may be needed,” Governor Jeff Colyer said.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management will activate its State Emergency Operations center in Topeka at 7 p.m. to monitor weather and coordinate any recovery efforts. The agency is also working with the National Guard to position four teams to assist stranded drivers, if needed.

"Kansans are urged to change or delay their travel plans in these areas until the storm moves through,” said Angee Morgan, deputy director of KDEM. If you plan to travel, use caution and make sure your car emergency kit is stocked.”

Winter road conditions are available by calling 5-1-1 from any mobile phone in Kansas. Callers outside the state will need to dial, 1-800-511-5368 (KDOT). Road conditions are also available on the Kansas Dept. of Transportation website.

“We hope that travelers will be wise by paying attention to weather alerts and not unnecessarily placing themselves in harm’s way as the storm moves through,” Colyer said.

If you are traveling, officials recommend you make sure your phone is charged, your gas tank is full, and your emergency kit has everything it needs, including:

  • Blankets
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • A cell phone charger
  • Hand-warmers
  • High-energy food snacks
  • Bottled water
  • Necessary medications
  • A snow shovel
  • Flares and
  • Other emergency supplies

KDOT also has more winter driving tips here.