The Kansas Division of Emergency Management activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka to a partial level at 6 a.m. today to monitor a winter storm system that moved into northwest and north central Kansas in the early hours of Saturday. KDEM staff and representatives of key state emergency response agencies will remain on duty throughout the day to receive any calls from assistance from counties affected by the winter storm.
At this time, there have been no requests for state assistance and no reported county declarations, major power outages or injuries due to weather-related accidents.
Gov. Jeff Colyer issued a State of Disaster Emergency declaration ahead of the storm on Friday to expedite state assistance to affected counties if requested. Counties named in the declaration are Cheyenne, Decatur, Graham, Norton, Phillips, Rooks, Sheridan, Sherman, and Thomas. Other counties may be added later, if necessary.
Kansas National Guard Stranded Motorist Assistance Response Teams are staged in Cheyenne, Ellis, Norton, Smith, and Thomas Counties to render assistance, as needed, to motorists stranded by snow. As of 11 a.m., the teams remain on stand-by and have received no requests for assistance.
Kansans are urged to change or delay their travel plans in these areas until the storm moves through. Winter road conditions are accessible by dialing 5-1-1 from your mobile phone anywhere in Kansas; outside Kansas call (866) 511-5368 (KDOT). Road conditions many also be viewed on the Kansas Department of Transportation web site at http://kandrive.org.
If you must travel, be sure your car’s gas tank is full and you have an emergency kit. Vehicle emergency kits should include blankets, flashlights, batteries, a cell phone charger, hand-warmers, high-energy food snacks, bottled water, necessary medications, a snow shovel, flares and other emergency supplies. Make sure your cell phone is charged and someone is aware of your itinerary, including expected time of arrival.
Information on winter driving tips is available from the Kansas Highway Patrol at http://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/259/Winter-Driving-Tips. You can also follow the Kansas Highway Patrol on Facebook and Twitter at www.kansashighwaypatrol.org.