Kansans urged to prepare for winter storm

Winter Weather (KSN File Photo)
Winter Weather (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kansas – With a major winter storm system forecast to hit the state Tuesday, Feb. 4, state officials are urging all Kansans to make sure they are prepared.

“This storm is looking to be the largest winter storm we have had in 2014,” said Governor Sam Brownback. “Although the storm will hit most of the state, the most affected areas will be the northeast, north central and south central regions. We urge motorists to be prepared for snowy road conditions and limited visibility due to blowing snow.”

“Our State Emergency Operations Center is ready to activate at a moment’s notice to assist local authorities should they need our help,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. “We ask Kansans to make sure your home emergency kit is stocked with enough water and nonperishable food for everyone in the household for a minimum of three days. Have a safe alternate heat source, blankets, flashlights and batteries, a battery-operated weather radio, medications and other essentials to remain safely at home.”

“We advise postponing travel plans, if possible, however, if you must be on the road, make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is stocked, your gas tank is full and your cell phone and charger are with you and someone knows your travel plans,” said Col. Ernest Garcia, Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent. “Also, be mindful of all emergency response personnel out on Kansas roadways and give them space to do their jobs to ensure their safety and that of our citizens.”

“If you must travel, please give the snow plows plenty of room to do their work,” said Mike King, secretary of Kansas Department of Transportation. “Plowing snow can be dangerous work and fewer vehicles on the road make it easier and safer for the plow operators to do their jobs.”

Information on making a home or vehicle emergency kit can be found online by clicking here.

Outdoor pets are especially vulnerable to bitter cold and extreme wind chills. Bring outdoor pets inside if possible or ensure that they have a draft-free enclosure with straw type bedding that is large enough to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold their body heat if they must remain outside. Always make sure that your pets have access to food and non-frozen water.

For additional pet safety information, go to www.redcross.org

Winter Driving Tips from the Kansas Highway Patrol:

If you must travel in the upcoming winter storm, the Kansas Highway Patrol offers the following tips to prepare your vehicle: Check the fluids, ensuring that the radiator is winterized, the gas tank is over half-full, and there is plenty of windshield washing fluid. Check belts, hoses, and brake systems for excessive wear. Have the exhaust system checked; small leaks can allow carbon monoxide to enter the passenger compartment. Check tire treads for adequate traction, and replace windshield wiper blades if they are ineffective.

Keep an emergency kit that includes at least the following:

  • An ice scraper and shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlights
  • Sand or kitty litter for traction
  • Extra blankets or clothing
  • Non-perishable food
  • A first aid kit
  • Matches and candles or flares
  • Tow rope or chain

On the road, remember the following:

  • Allow extra time for delays and slower traffic speeds.
  • Buckle up and properly secure children in safety seats.
  • Increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Ice and snow significantly increase your stopping distance.
  • Accelerate and brake gently. A light foot on the gas is less likely to make wheels spin on ice and snow. Braking is best accomplished by pumping the pedal. If your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system, it is very important that you understand how to use it. Read the owner’s manual or check with a dealership for more information, and practice using it correctly.
  • Make turns slowly and gradually, especially in heavily traveled areas (e.g. intersections that may be icy from snow that melted and refroze).
  • Visibility is very important. You must be able to see out, and other drivers must be able to see your vehicle. Clean frost and snow off all windows, mirrors, and lights. Use headlights as necessary.
  • If your car loses traction and begins to slide, steer into the swerve, or in the direction you want to go. Anticipate a second skid in the opposite direction as the car straightens out.

If you are stranded in a winter storm, do not panic. Stay in the vehicle, keep fresh air circulating through a downwind window, run the motor sparingly, turn on the dome light, and stimulate circulation and stay awake by moving arms and legs. If you leave the car, walk slowly in the snow to avoid over-exertion and the risk of a heart attack. If you have a cell phone, call a Kansas Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (47), or *KTA (582) while on the Kansas Turnpike.

Road Conditions Available from the Kansas Department of Transportation:

Road conditions are available through the Kansas Department of Transportation. Check conditions and view road conditions before travel by going to www.kandrive.org or on a mobile device, go to 511mm.ksdot.org. You may also call 5-1-1 from any phone.

LINKS to KSN Storm Tracker Weather
Closings and delays
Radars including interactive
Latest KSN Forecasts
Weather Alerts
Wichita Road Conditions / Cameras
Wichita Airport
Latest road conditions across Kansas
KSN News Apps
Westar power outages map
Winter weather safety and preparedness tips

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