A second winter storm is moving into Kansas Sunday bringing with it the potential for freezing rain, sleet, ice and 6-12 inches of snow for a large portion of the state. The new storm system follows a winter blast that moved through Kansas Wednesday through Friday dumping 10-14 inches of snow over much of the state.
State officials urge Kansans to prepare now for this new storm by restocking home and vehicle emergency kits with food, water, medicine, flashlights, blankets and other essentials.
“Keep an eye on this storm system which has the potential to be more difficult than the last one because of strong winds, ice, and heavy snow accumulation,” said Governor Sam Brownback. “Be ready to change your travel plans if needed. Staying off the roads not only keeps you safe, but it also helps road crews do their jobs and allows emergency responders to get to their destination safer. But if you must travel take essentials with you to stay safe and inform others of where you are going and when you expect to arrive.”
The State Emergency Operations Center will be activated Sunday afternoon and continue on a 24-hour basis until further notice. KDEM will work closely with county emergency managers and other state agencies to determine what resources and assistance might be needed as the storm moves across the state.
“With the prediction of strong winds of 30 to 40 mph and gusting up to 50 to 60 mph, this storm has the potential to cause power outages and white out conditions,” Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, adjutant general and director of Kansas Division of Emergency Management. “Take the preparations you need for yourself and your family to be safe if you are without power for a few days.”
Information on emergency preparedness for home and travel may be found at www.ksready.gov.
Winter Driving Tips
If you must travel in the upcoming winter storm, the Kansas Highway Patrol offers to 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
- 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 (ABS), 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 plan to drive, do not drink. Designate a driver or call a cab. Report impaired drivers to a law enforcement agency.
- Watch for deer, especially near dusk and dawn.
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, work slowly in the snow to avoid over-exertion and the risk of a heart attack. If you have a cellular phone, call a Kansas Highway Patrol dispatcher by dialing *HP (47), or *KTA (582) while on the Kansas Turnpike.
Additional information on winter driving tips is available on the Kansas Highway Patrol website at http://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/press/news_info/winter_drive.html
Listen to local media for weather updates and check the Kansas Department of Transportation website (http://511.ksdot.org) for road conditions and travel advisories.