Officials urge Kansans to stay home as weekend ice storm approaches

Kansas officials talked about preparations for the upcoming storm this weekend.
Kansas officials talked about preparations for the upcoming storm this weekend.

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant-general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, held a news conference Friday afternoon to address the state’s preparations for the winter ice storm that is expected to hit the state beginning Friday afternoon. Freezing rain has already started in southeast Kansas.

The National Weather Service says ice accumulations of a quarter-inch up to half an inch or more are expected this weekend with the first round hitting the southern part of the state.

Tafanelli says the state has been preparing for the storm for five days.

“We’ve had a series of conference calls with our division of emergency management, county emergency managers, and other key members to identify any shortfall of resources, any requirements that they may have that they can not meet.”

Tafanelli says 178 Kansas National Guardsmen have been activated for this event, a number of them responsible to help with stranded motorists, assistance response teams and to help local law enforcement and first responders.

The Kansas Department of Transportation says highway crews are ready for round the clock coverage and urge travelers to give snow plows plenty of room to operate.

The Kansas Highway Patrol advised that people stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

“If you do have to be out make sure to have a full tank of gas, working wipers and to increase your distance and reduce speed.”

Travelers can call 511 and get the most up to date road conditions from KDOT.

If you are in need of assistance for food or medical assistance call the United Way at 211 for help. In a life threatening emergency call 911.

Also in attendance was Richard Carlson, acting secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation; Dr. Susan Mosier, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment; and Angee Morgan, deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, to discuss their agencies’ preparations for the storms. Col. Mark Bruce, superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol, has also been invited to attend.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management advises Kansans to avoid travel during the storms, if possible. If you must travel, get the latest road information from the Kansas Department of Transportation by calling 5-1-1 or visiting the Kandrive website at kandrive.org. To find information on road conditions when not in the state, call 1-866-511-5368.

The KSN StormTracker 3 Weather team is continuing to track the storm.

Click here for more on this weekend’s weather.