Saturday’s blizzard hit some communities in southwest Kansas harder than others, but by the time the storm ended around 3 p.m. Saturday, the 2018-19 "cold" season ranked fourth in Garden City’s highest to-date snowfall totals, comparing historical numbers through Feb. 25.
About 9 inches of snow fell on Garden City this weekend, compared to about 10 inches in rural northwest Haskell County, 9 in Dighton, 8 in Deerfield and 7 near the south end of the Kansas-Colorado border, said Marc Russell, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Dodge City. Sublette received about 4 inches, Dodge City 5 and Liberal 3, he said.
The latest snowfall brings Garden City’s total snowfall for the season, spanning the beginning of October to the present, to 28.2 inches, the fourth highest the city has seen through this date, according to NWS historical data. By Feb. 25, 1993, about 52.3 inches had falled on the town in the 1992-93 season; about 31 fell by this time in 1959-60; and 1989-90 had about 30.1. Russell said the NWS records go back to 1901.
While most area schools remained open with normal hours Monday, Garden City USD 457, Holcomb USD 363 and Deerfield USD 216 closed, and Garden City Community College did not open until 10 a.m.
After about two days of canceled flights due to piled-up snow near runways, hangars and the loading and fueling station, Garden City Regional Airport opened Monday morning after problem areas were cleared.
Work to clear city roads is still in progress, said Sam Curran, director of Public Works at the City of Garden City. With primary roads — or larger roads and safety routes to St. Catherine Hospital — cleared, crews began working Monday to haul away piles of plowed snow to the Finney County Exhibition Building, avoiding possible drainage blockages and making way for possibly plowing snowfall next week, he said.
Crew members would also peel off to work on access to the post office, frontage roads and schools not already taken care of by primary road plows or school facilities crews, Curran said.
As for other streets, the city does not have any definitive priorities, Curran said. The city will address large piles and drifts near streets, he said. Packed down snow means there is little plows can do, but crews will make sure nearby drains are unblocked and ready to take on melted snow. The city likely will not plow residential streets, since the piles of plowed snow will block residents in, he said. But the department is willing to address, or at least hear, other significant issues.
“If someone is really having a difficult problem that's unusual, all they need to do is call us…” Curran said.
In the meantime, he said, by Tuesday morning Main Street will be largely cleared off and crews will have put a big dent in removing piles of snow. By Monday afternoon, they had moved out over 150 loads, he said.
“I’m hoping that when the public wakes up tomorrow, they’ll see even a bigger change than they saw this morning…” Curran said.
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