A winter storm system pushing its way across the state since Sunday night left behind more than a half foot of snow in parts of the state overnight. As snow continued in western and central Kansas and moved through into the eastern portion of the state, highways were snow packed and icy, making travel treacherous.
“This has been a deadly winter storm,” said Governor Sam Brownback. “Unfortunately, we lost a second life overnight because of slick roads.”
The crash occurred on I-70 near mile marker 151 in Ellis County at approximately 7:42 p.m. Monday. The victim, a female passenger, was in a pickup truck that slid on an icy patch and rolled. Three passengers were also injured.
“We urge everyone to avoid travel and be extremely cautious if you must be on the roads,” said Col. Ernest Garcia, superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol.
The first fatality accident occurred Monday morning on I-70 in Sherman County at approximately 9 a.m., according to KHP. The driver in the one car crash died.
Winter Storm Rocky continues to linger over the entire eastern half of the state. Winter storm warnings for the area are active until approximately 1 p.m. today.
Average snow accumulations in Kansas per region as of about 5 a.m. were:
- Southwest: 5.5 inches
- Northwest: 1.5 inches
- South Central: 6 – 8 inches
- North Central: No accumulation reports
- Northeast: 4 – 7 inches
- Southeast: 4 – 6 inches
Additional accumulations of two to three inches are expected for counties southeast of I-35/I-335 Kansas Turnpike. A north wind will pick up today with gusts as high as 35 mph making driving conditions extremely treacherous due to limited visibilities.
The Kansas Department of Transportation has re-opened several roads in southwest Kansas at the Kansas-Oklahoma state line due to improving conditions in the Oklahoma panhandle. U.S. 56 at Elkhart, U.S. 54 west of Liberal and K-25 in Stevens County are now open southbound into Oklahoma.
U.S. 83 at Liberal and K-23 in Meade County remain closed at the state line due to conditions in Oklahoma. Portions of the following roads are currently closed due to reduced visibility and some drifting: US-160; US-183; US-281, US-283; K-34, K-42 and K-44.
Increased accumulations of snow and gusting winds are expected to cause deteriorating travel conditions throughout tonight and tomorrow for most regions of the state.
The following resources are available free to travelers wishing to get the latest road condition and weather updates at any time:
Coordination of State Resources
The State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka continues to operate at a watch level with 24-hour staffing
“We’ll continue to monitor the weather situation and stand ready to coordinate state assistance to counties, as needed,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. “However, no counties have requested assistance at this time. We haven’t had any reports of shelters opening. There have been some power outages and service is being restored as quickly as possible.”
As of approximately 7 a.m. Feb. 26, Westar Energy reported approximately 10,000 customers without power in South Central to Northeast parts of the state. Kansans should be prepared in case power is lost in their area as the storm continues. Kansas City Power and Light reports approximately 15,000 customers without power in an area from Emporia to Fort Scott to Kansas City, Kan.
Although early morning flights at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita are cancelled, mid-morning has some flights scheduled to resume, according to the airport’s website.
Some flights have resumed at Kansas City International Airport, however numerous cancellations are being reported. The Kansas City, Mo., Aviation Department strongly advises travelers and those picking up/dropping off travelers to check their flight status before coming to the airport. Real-time flight status is available at www.flykci.com, on airline websites and by calling airlines’ phone numbers. They can also rebook directly with their airline, most of which may waive rebooking fees.