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Blizzard conditions, semi crash close Kansas interstate as winds increase fire danger

The KanDrive road camera for I-70 east of Russell at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The KanDrive road camera for I-70 east of Russell at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Kansas Department of Transportation

An April blizzard combined with a semi crash has closed a portion of interstate highway in western Kansas as strong winds and warm temperatures support high grassland fire danger in other parts of the state.

The Kansas Department of Transportation said Wednesday night in a tweet about blizzard closures that eastbound I-70 between Goodland and Edison has been closed due to a semi crash blocking the roadway. As of 9 p.m., weather conditions in northwest Kansas were deteriorating, and KDOT urged drivers to not travel west.

As of about 10 p.m., KDOT’s KanDrive online road closure map showed I-70 closed west of Goodland. Between Goodland and Colby, the interstate was listed as completely covered. Other highways in northwest Kansas were also listed as partially or completely covered.

The Wichita branch of the National Weather Service predicts that snow accumulation is not expected in central Kansas, but the Dodge City branch predicts up to 2 inches of snow in parts of southwest Kansas.

Winter storms are not the only potential hazardous weather in the state.

Weather service forecasters in Wichita predicted a high grassland fire danger Wednesday night, especially east of the I-135 corridor. A hazardous weather outlook cites strong winds and warm temperatures for the fire danger.

Nickel-sized hail was also recorded near Ellsworth, the NWS Wichita said in a tweet.

Due to flooding in eastern Kansas, U.S. 59 is closed at the Kansas border with Missouri, and K-7 is closed from Sparks to the Nebraska state line, according to KDOT travel alerts.

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