Rainy day spawns accidents in Wichita

01/11/2013 6:56 AM

01/11/2013 6:58 AM

A drizzly dawn contributed to an increase in accidents on Wichita’s roads Wednesday.

Multiple accidents on I-135 in the northbound lanes near Harry Street snarled traffic during the morning commute, a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said. One vehicle slammed into a power pole, knocking it onto the freeway.

“We’ve had a slight increase in the number of accidents,” the supervisor said.

No serious injuries were reported.

About half an inch of rain fell in Wichita on Thursday, most of it a light drizzle that, when mixing with the dirt and oil on the streets, made surfaces slippery in spots.

“The ground is still pretty hard” due to the recent dry weather, and that’s making absorption more difficult, said Brad Ketchum, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita.

Westar Energy crews were busy much of Wednesday morning repairing a power outage that affected hundreds of customers in west Wichita. The outage occurred at about 4:45 a.m. and affected an area roughly between I-235 and Seneca along and near Douglas.

A 15-foot section of underground utility line went bad, Westar spokesman Shane Batchelder said. Power was restored shortly before 10 a.m.

The rainy respite was expected to be short-lived. Friday’s forecast, according to Accuweather, calls for a high of 64 degrees with partly cloudy conditions before tumbling to a more seasonable 40 degrees as a high on Saturday. The overnight low then will dip below 20 degrees before reaching a high temperature of 35 degrees on Sunday.

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