January 6, 2014

Wichita starts work week in subzero cold

How cold was it Monday in Wichita?

How cold was it Monday in Wichita?

The lowest temperature was 5 below zero at 6:25 a.m., said meteorologist Vanessa Pearce with the National Weather Service in Wichita. It wasn’t the record for the date – that was minus 10 in 1912. Wind chills dipped as low as minus 19 on Monday morning.

But Wichita wasn’t the coldest place in Kansas on Monday. Garden City and Cottonwood Falls dipped to minus 12 degrees, Pearce said. Large parts of southeast Kansas and northeast Kansas saw low temperatures hovering around minus 11.

Wind chill advisories will remain in effect in Wichita throughout Tuesday morning, and things are expected to get much better throughout the day, with Tuesday’s high in the mid- to upper 30s.

“We are in actually for a pretty decent rebound,” said Chris Jakub, NWS meteorologist.

And the really good news? Temperatures may steadily climb as the week progresses.

“We will stay in the 30s Wednesday and Thursday and climb up into the 40s and 50s at some point this weekend,” Jakub said.

For the most part, Wichita-area residents heeded the advice of local meteorologists and stayed home throughout the weekend.

Area hospitals saw no influx of people in emergency rooms on Monday related to the weather. However, Maria Loving, communication coordinator for Via Christi hospitals in Wichita, said there was an increase in the number of people coming in to local emergency rooms who were experiencing flu-like symptoms.

The bitter cold temperatures over the weekend caused Inter-Faith Ministries to keep its shelters open Sunday for about 60 to 70 people, said Anne Corriston, Inter-Faith’s executive director. Sunday night, 108 men and four women found shelter at Inter-Faith.

Surprisingly, it was not the busiest night this winter, Corriston said. That was Dec. 16 when 104 men and 12 women sought shelter.

“We see a dip in numbers right around the first of the month when Social Security and disability checks are sent out,” she said. “Some people won’t stay at shelters when they have cash in their pocket and so they will rent a motel room. …

“When it is bitterly cold like this, most see that it is hazardous to be out. They come inside and are very appreciative.”

Jim Hanni, vice president for public affairs at AAA Kansas, said in a news release that his company’s Emergency Roadside Rescue Team answered nearly 500 calls Monday, with more than half of those calls coming from Topeka and Wichita.

“About two-thirds of all the requests for service had to do with battery and starting issues,” the release said. “Roughly 20 percent were for towing and 15 percent were for frozen locks or vehicle lockout service.”

Contributing: Associated Press

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