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Winter storm brings needed moisture

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

The timing of the snow Monday might have altered some New Year's plans, but the moisture was welcome.

Area Kansas Department of Transportation crews started working on the roads in Russell County at approximately 4 a.m. Monday, said Kevin Zimmer, Hays area engineer.

The crews in Ellis, Trego and Graham counties, the other counties served by the Hays office, were working by 7 a.m., and worked through the night and much of New Year's Day, he said.

The Hays area had between 5 and 7 inches of snow depending on the location, Dodge City National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Scott said.

The main streets in Hays have been treated and cleaned, said I.D. Creech, public works director.

Hays only clears snow routes and secondary routes, he said.

"We don't do residential streets, and they're snowpacked."

City crews treated the roads with brine before the storm, and started working on snow removal Monday afternoon. They worked until about 9 p.m. Monday, and resumed early New Year's Day, Creech said.

Zimmer said he wasn't aware of any road closures, but "everything was snowpacked."

There was very little drifting.

"It could have been a lot worse with (more) wind," Zimmer said.

The storm originated from the four corners where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado meet.

"It definitely had moisture with it," Scott said.

The moisture will help, but "it would take a lot of these to make a big impact," he said.

Besides the small boost of moisture, the snow cover will provide some insulation for crops in northwest Kansas, said Phil Stahlman, professor and research weed scientist at the Western Kansas Agricultural Research Center in Hays.

"It was certainly needed, but it won't break the drought," Stahlman said.