Worst of Winter Storm Q hitting today
By RACHAEL GRAY
A blanket of snow was already on the ground and roads were slushy Wednesday afternoon in Garden City and southwest Kansas, but meteorologists said the worst of Winter Storm Q was to hit today.
Larry Ruthi, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dodge City, said the forecast as of Wednesday afternoon called for 8 to 10 more inches in Garden City, with the heaviest snowfall from midnight Wednesday until noon today.
“You see some light snow off and on, and towards midnight you’ll start to get heavier snow,” he said Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday afternoon, reports showed most snow in this part of the state was 2 inches in Dodge City and four miles southeast of Ingalls. Garden City received an inch of snow, which contained 0.06 inches of precipitation.
The reports of the most snowfall came out of Utica and Coldwater, with 6 inches of snow as of mid-afternoon Wednesday.
“The heavier stuff was farther east,” Ruthi said.
An area northeast of Ulysses received 0.5 inches of snow, seven miles southeast of Cimarron received 1.5 inches and Kismet weather trackers reported an inch.
In Scott County at Manning, 3.5 inches was reported. Parts of Ellis County received 4.5 inches.
As for today, some areas of the state were predicted to get up to 18 inches of snow.
“They’ll probably get the most in Rush, Ness, Trego and on upwards of Highway 96. North of I-70 will be 18 inches in some places. This is a big event,” he said.
Agencies, organizations and schools in the area closed Wednesday and remain closed today.
Only two southwest Kansas school districts had classes Wednesday — USD 212 Ulysses and USD 452 Stanton County.
Karen Barnett, dispatcher at the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, said the county courthouse was closed Wednesday. She said residents were preparing for the storm.
“They say we could get up to 20 inches when it’s all over,” she said.
Garden City USD 457 schools canceled classes Wednesday. Parent-teacher conferences had been scheduled for today and Friday, but have been canceled today. Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled for Friday.
The Garden City Recreation Commission closed at 5 p.m. Wednesday and canceled activities Wednesday night.
Garden City Community College closed at 2 p.m. Wednesday, and the men’s and women’s basketball games scheduled at Seward County Community College have been rescheduled for 6 and 8 p.m. Monday.
Tonight’s performance performance of “Shotguns for Wedding Bells” at GCCC has been canceled because of the weather. Ticket holders for this date may reschedule for any of the other performances. Remaining presentations are set for Friday and Saturday and March 1 and 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building.
Offices of the 25th Judicial District, including Finney, Kearny, Hamilton, Greeley, Wichita and Scott County District Courts, will be closed today. The courts are scheduled to re-open Friday for regular business hours.
Tonight’s Kansas Department of Transportation open house in Sublette concerning proposed improvements to U.S. Highway 83 in northern Haskell County and southern Finney County has been canceled due to the weather. The open house will be rescheduled for a future date.
Downtown Vision’s Third Thursdays event, featuring The Soup Loop theme, has been postponed until next week. The event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 28.
United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries also will be closed today, according to a press release from the organization. This includes all medical and dental clinics in Dodge City, Garden City, Liberal and Ulysses. Patient appointments will be rescheduled. The Care Centers in Dodge City, Garden City, Liberal and Ulysses will be closed as well.
Several departments at St. Catherine Hospital will be delayed in opening or will be closed today. The Cancer Center is closed today. The Rehabilitation Department will open at 9 a.m. today, the Women’s Clinic will be open from 12:30 to 5 p.m., and Medical Records will be closed. Siena Medical Clinic will be closed today. Siena Staff began calling patients on Wednesday to reschedule their appointments.
Senior Vice President of St. Catherine Jon Yox said Wednesday that “the Department of Public Safety is discouraging travel at this time. We do not want to put our patients and associates in danger.”
The hospital will remain open with essential personnel. In case of a medical emergency, call 911 or visit the Emergency Department at 401 E. Spruce St.
Moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is colliding with a cold air mass over Kansas and Nebraska, triggering the winter storm.
The storm brings much-needed moisture to the drought-stricken area.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Garden City is 0.31 inches of precipitation behind the norm, and 0.52 inches behind on the year. This year’s deficit combined with last year’s deficit still puts most of Finney County and southwest Kansas in an exceptional drought area.
The new snow accumulation for tonight is expected to be 5 to 9 inches. The high for today is expected to be 23 degrees with an overnight low of about 2.
Friday’s forecast is partly sunny with a high near 25, with northwest winds from 5 to 7 mph and becoming calm in the afternoon.
Saturday will be mostly sunny with a high of 32. Sunday has a slight chance for rain and snow and partly sunny with a high near 35. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.