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Winter storm to strike Kansas this weekend

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at 4:58 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, at 6:31 a.m.

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Travel and safety tips

For road conditions and weather call 5-1-1 or go to http://www.kandrive.org, which also has maps, traffic cams and more, and the 511 mobile site, http://511mm.ksdot.org.

Those planning to travel during or after the storm are encouraged to utilize the following safety tips:

Completely clean frost and snow off all windows, mirrors, and lights, and use headlights to provide optimum visibility.

Slow down, accelerate and brake gently, and increase following distance between other vehicles.

Don’t use cruise control.

Allow for more travel time.

Always wear a seat belt, and secure children in the proper child safety seats.

Slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles and maintenance crews.

If involved in a traffic crash, or need assistance, call 911, or contact the Patrol at *47 (*HP) from a cellphone. Call *582 (*KTA) on the Kansas Turnpike.

Wintry weather is coming this way.

It figures to make travel tricky around much of Kansas this weekend, including the Wichita metropolitan area.

Several inches of snow are possible in Wichita on Saturday and Saturday night, AccuWeather senior vice president Mike Smith said. Other parts of Kansas could see as much as 10 inches of snow.

“Over the weekend, it looks like it could be bad,” said Joe Pajor, deputy director of public works and utilities for the city of Wichita.

The National Weather Service is predicting a broad swath of between 3 and 6 inches of snow from Dodge City to Hutchinson to Topeka to Kansas City.

Crews began pre-treating Wichita streets Thursday afternoon in preparation for the coming storm, Pajor said, and they’ve been put on alert to be ready for a “full emergency response” beginning at midnight Friday if necessary.

An update on the city’s response to the coming winter storm is expected at 10 a.m. Friday at City Hall, Pajor said.

Smith said he had advice for people who are traveling across Kansas for holiday gatherings or activities: “Earlier is better” on departure times.

“It’s a good weekend to really keep up on the weather,” he said.

The Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Division of Emergency Management and the Kansas Highway Patrol will be on duty and monitoring conditions, said Col. Ernest Garcia, superintendent of the patrol.

“We want all Kansas travelers to be able to safely arrive at their destinations,” Garcia said in a prepared statement.

Farther south, thunderstorms could trigger delays for flights into and out of Dallas, Smith said, and ice figures to make travel treacherous through Oklahoma.

Snowfall should end early Sunday morning, forecasters say. With temperatures not climbing out of the 20s Sunday and Monday, forecasters say, the chances of a white Christmas in Wichita are much greater than normal.

“It’s just a matter of how much we get and does it stick around,” said Robb Lawson, a meteorologist with the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service. “That’s the main thing.”

Another chance of rain or snow arrives Christmas Day, forecasters say.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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