City of Wichita officials on Sunday urged Wichita area residents to avoid non-essential travel during and after a winter storm that is expected to hit the metropolitan area Sunday night through Tuesday.
There is a strong potential for up to 30 inches of snows within five days, following a winter storm that a week ago dumped a record-setting 14.2 inches on the metropolitan area. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning effective until late Monday night for the Wichita area, with a forecast predicting 8-14 inches of snow over the next 36 hours and gusts of around 35 miles an hour.
City of Wichita public works and public safety officials, during a noon briefing on Sunday at City Hall, said the storm conditions will make traveling conditions extremely hazardous. Due to snow Wichita received on Wednesday and Thursday, driving conditions may be worse than the previous storm. There is limited availability to store plowed snow on the curbs, so snow may need to be plowed into the middle lanes of four-lane roads. This will limit some arterials to two lanes of traffic, with reduced capacity to turn left at some intersections.
Also, Public Works & Utilities officials, said last week’s storm has significantly reduced the City’s inventory of treatment materials such as salt and sand. In an effort to conserve the remaining materials, the City may be only able plow roads during the storm and may not be able to utilize salt and sand until it stops snowing.& The lack of salt and sand could make roads slicker and harder to navigate than they were during last week’s storm.
City crews will monitor forecasts and are continuing around the clock street treatments. Emergency routes will be the priority for plowing operations. The City is also coordinating its plowing operations with the Sedgwick County Election Office to clear roads to polling places for Tuesday’s primary municipal election.
Under City ordinance, residents and businesses are responsible for clearing parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks on their properties. They may need to be cleared multiple times due to the intensity of the storm. Emergency Accident Reporting Plan (EARP) will go into effect once weather conditions are such that safety needs necessitate it, said Wichita Police Department officials.