Wichita officials urge caution, common sense as storm nears

Wichita police and city officials on Friday urged residents to slow down and use common sense if they travel around the metropolitan area this weekend as the first snowfall of the winter season arrives.

Anywhere from a trace to 2 inches of snow is expected to fall Saturday and Sunday in Wichita, with higher amounts in neighboring Harvey County and points north. While that’s not a lot of snow even by Wichita standards, police officials said drivers all too often seem thrown by the first snow of the season.

“You can be stopped and you can be ticketed if you’re driving … too fast for conditions,” Wichita police Lt. Joe Schroeder said.

Street maintenance crews have been putting brine on city streets since Wednesday in anticipation of this weekend’s wintry weather, said Alan King, director of public works. They’ve been paying particular attention to curves, hills and other areas that tend to get slippery first.

The city’s stockpile of salt and sand is filled to capacity and 50 plow trucks are ready to go when needed, King said. The city has 16,000 tons of salt in storage and will continue to top off supplies of salt and sand throughout the winter.

The city has enough storage capacity to do 10 passes along primary routes, King said. But this first storm isn’t expected to be a lingering headache, he said, with temperatures expected to warm into the 40s by the middle of next week.

Forecasters say a winter storm will bring several inches of snow to parts of central and eastern Kansas along I-70. State emergency management officials have been urging residents to be mindful of the conditions, prepare emergency kits for their vehicles and limit travel if possible.

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

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