The Garden City Telegram
2/9/2014
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Snow fallout

Would-be travelers heed warnings at right time.

The recent snowstorm that swept through Kansas left plenty of danger in its wake.

The winter storm system dumped as much as 15 inches of snow in some areas of Kansas, with up to 9 inches reported in parts of southwest Kansas.

Hazardous roadways became the prime concern, as happens when significant snowfall, cold and wind create white-outs and slick conditions.

From the efforts of local communities to state road crews, it was encouraging to see the progress made under difficult circumstances. Bitter cold and wind chill made the situation more challenging and dangerous for workers trying to clear the way for motorists, and help those stranded along the way.

Gov. Sam Brownback declared a state of emergency. National Guard teams were deployed throughout the state to transport emergency and medical personnel, and assist stranded motorists if needed.

The AAA Roadside Rescue team responded to several hundred calls for assistance throughout Kansas, from motorists stuck in snow to others with dead vehicle batteries, frozen locks or in need of fuel.

State officials reported three fatalities due to weather-related crashes in the state — grim fallout that always serves as a sobering reminder of the need to be prepared and exercise caution when making plans to travel in severe winter weather.

Knowing there's likely more snowfall, ice and windy weather to come this winter, it's important to check road conditions available online through the Kansas Department of Transportation at kandrive.org; 511mm.ksdot.org on a mobile device; or by calling 511 from any phone.

Even though this part of Kansas saw lesser amounts of snow than other areas, it's worth noting that any amount of snow, wind and ice can create serious problems for travelers.

The latest wintry blast also proved once again why it's better to stay off the roads unless travel is absolutely necessary.

It would appear that many Kansans heeded the warnings this time around. Those sensible decisions, along with the dedicated work of road crews who braved harsh conditions to provide some relief no doubt combined to minimize what might have been even more tragic fallout.