Some highways closed, ranchers keeping cattle protected

The second wave of snowfall is hitting Kansas.

Mike Bell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dodge City, said Dodge City has about an inch of snow, with snow already blowing. Wind speed is around 25 mph as of 7:30 a.m. and he expected the wind to stay between 25 to 35 mph all day.

He said a blizzard warning is issued for parts of southwest Kansas.

"It's blowing really good," he said Monday morning.

Meanwhile, the Kansas Department of Transportation has closed all state highways leading into the Oklahoma Panhandle as the storm continues to roll into the region.

The Dodge City area south to Liberal is expected to get another 3 to 8 inches as round two blows through Kansas, the weather service reports. Another swath of the state, from Stafford to Barber County and east, is predicted to receive up to 15 inches of snowfall by Tuesday morning.

Bell said early Monday that he had received one report from Haviland of 8 inches of fresh snow.

The weather service also reported snowfall totals of 4.5 inches at Greensburg, 4 inches at Ashland, 3.5 inches at Coldwater and 3 inches at Lyons.

Barber County Extension Agent Tim Marshall, also a rancher, was preparing to go out and feed cattle Monday morning as the snow and wind blew into Kansas.

Visibility was between a half mile and a mile, he suspected, on his Barber County operation.

"It's not a blizzard yet, by no means," he said.

Last week, his area received about 15 inches of snow. Barber County is expected to receive at least another foot by morning.

But Marshall wasn't discouraged as he headed out the door. Inclement weather, eh said, is just part of life when you are a rancher.

With most of his cows calving earlier this winter, he said he just has two pregnant cows, and he put them in a barn and bedded them down Sunday night. Several times through the day, he will put older hay down so his baby calves will be off the snow.

"It's really not that bad," Marshall said. "Everybody made this out to be the end of the world blizzard. It's uncomfortable at times, but it's not a life altering business."

However, blizzard conditions were hitting other areas of Kansas. At Haviland, Don Stimpson said visibility was between a quarter to a half mile as falling snow and blowing snow whirled around his rural home. He couldn't see his neighbor's home a quarter-mile away.

He wasn't sure just how much snow he received because of how much was blowing.

"It's significant, though," he said. "It's several inches. We just got dug out from that last storm and here we are again."

Last week's storm, he said, dumped 15 inches of snow in the area.

He and his wife hit the stores Sunday for provisions for themselves and their animals. Snow began to fall around 2 a.m. Monday near Haviland.

Stimpson said he went outside early Monday morning to clear an area for his dogs and cats. Snow, however, is already drifting.

"We have some pretty humongous drifts starting to form," he said. "All the trees are loaded. The cedars we have for a windbreak around the house, they are weighted down."

Down the road in Greensburg, Matt Deighton said conditions varied depending on the wind speed. Earlier in the day, he couldn't see the train tracks a block away.

"Right now, the wind is picking up again and it is gusting," he said.

Stimpson said he was going to try to make it five miles into Haviland to mail packages. He figured his rural mail carrier would not make it out today. As the operator of the Kansas Meteorite Museum at Haviland, Stimpson said he had packages that needed to be mailed out for his eBay business.

Road conditions, however, aren't great across much of The News' coverage area. Roads remain snow packed in many areas of south-central and southwest Kansas.

Highway 50 is snow packed from Hutchinson to Garden City. U.S. 54 from Pratt to about Liberal also is completely snow packed.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has closed all state highways leading into the Oklahoma Panhandle as a major winter storm rolls through the region.

Department officials reported Monday that U.S. 52 west of Liberal, U.S. 56 at Elkhart, U.S. 83 at Liberal, Kansas 25 in Stevens County and Kansas 23 in Meade County had been closed at the request of Oklahoma officials.

The closings are in addition to the closings on U.S. 160 from Meade to Coldwater; U.S. 183 from the Kansas-Oklahoma state line to Coldwater and U.S. 283 from the Kansas-Oklahoma state line to Minneola. The department also closed Kansas 34 from junction of U.S. 160/U.S. 183/Kansas 34 north to Bucklin.

Blowing and drifting snow has caused hazardous driving conditions and visibility was extremely low in the region.