Winter Storm 'Q' barrels toward GC

2/20/2013

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

The winter storm heading toward Kansas, dubbed “Winter Storm Q” by The Weather Channel, is expected to hang around for a couple of days, bringing snow and sleet prompting the city, county and state to prepare and advise the public.

Mike Scott, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Dodge City, said the storm is going to take its time passing through southwest Kansas on its way across the state.

“It looks like it’s definitely going to be hitting us hard this time, but the system is definitely slow moving and it’s probably going to start (this) morning and last through Thursday evening,” Scott said.

Accumulation is expected to be anywhere from six to 12 inches in and around Garden City, while some areas north of here, such as Hays, could get as much as 15 inches.

“It’s going to start digging in (Tuesday) evening and we’ll probably start seeing some precipitation develop, probably shortly after midnight, right around 3ish. It depends on location out here, but we’re definitely going to be seeing maybe a window there of some light freezing drizzle and then snow possibly after 3 a.m.,” Scott said.

He said that the sleet or ice accumulation isn’t expected to be more than about a quarter of an inch and that there will be steady drizzle and snow throughout the day today.

“(Today) will be definitely windy with light, freezing drizzle, with snow likely in the morning and then throughout the course of the day. Depending on location, there will be probably anywhere from two to four inches throughout the day,” Scott said. “The heaviest snow is going to come overnight today into Thursday morning.”

Wind will also be a factor with the storm, Scott said.

“Those winds are going to be southeast from 15 to 25 mph, up to 30 mph in the afternoon … and then east winds (tonight) from 10 to 20 mph with gusts to around 30 mph, so it’s going to be an interesting day,” he said. “We’ll probably going to be seeing some drifting snow throughout the day on Thursday.”

He said temperatures will be in the lower 30s today and lower 20s tonight.

“Then of course as the day goes by, we’re just going to be seeing near steady temperatures, probably in the mid- 20s on Thursday,” he said.

Because of the snow expected, Scott said that temperatures on Thursday night could drop below zero.

“With those kind of winds, (and those) kind of temperatures, you always want to bundle up, definitely,” he said.

Gilbert Valerio, assistant coordinator with Finney County Emergency Management, has been sending notifications out to city, county and Holcomb city offices, as well as to local charitable organizations that can provide warm shelter for those needing it.

He said the department has also offered its help to Sam Curran, director of the city’s public works department.

“He knows what to do anyway, but as far as my role, what he needs emergency management to do,” Valerio said. “If we can help him out anyway we can, we’ll go up there and help them.”

Officials are also using the department’s Facebook page, Finney County Kansas Emergency Management and Health Department, to keep people updated.

“The general public needs to get prepared as far as having water and food that you can prepare without the use of electricity, because if we lose electricity for awhile, they need to get ready for that kind of stuff. Any kind of medication, they need to make sure they’re up to date with those and that they have enough to last them a couple of days until we get everything back up to normal and running,” Valerio said. “They need to get prepared, get ready. Plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

In a press release from the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, Deputy Director Angee Morgan said people should stock up with one gallon of water per person per day, nonperishable food, medications and other essentials for a minimum of three days.

The storm is expected to affect most of the state, so both KDEM and the Kansas Department of Transportation are discouraging travel. In areas near Interstate 70, snow and sleet is expected; areas south of I-70 are expected to experience sleet and light freezing in the afternoon.

“Avoid travel if you can, but if you can’t, take some precautions,” Morgan said. “Be sure your car’s emergency kit is ready with the same sort of supplies you have at home. Make sure your cell phone is charged and your gas tank is full ... And make sure someone knows where you are going, the route you are taking and when you are expected to arrive.”

According to a press release from KDOT, crews are being prepared in anticipation of the storm, as well.

“Crews are already out there pretreating the highways where they can,” said Peter Carttar, assistant bureau chief in construction and maintenance for KDOT.

For weather updates, people can call 511, or check the Kansas Department of Transportation website, 511.ksdot.org for road conditions and travel advisories.

Information on emergency preparedness for home and travel may be found at www.ksready.gov, www.redcross.org and www.fema.gov.

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