City of Wichita crews are mobilizing to respond to the snowiest forecasted storm so far this winter. Starting this afternoon, 50 trucks are being employed to plow emergency routes around the clock until streets are cleared. Personnel are scheduled on rotating 12-hour shifts to provide the snow response.
A winter storm warning has been issued for Wichita by the National Weather Service. It goes into effect at 6 p.m. this evening and will expire at midnight on Wednesday morning. Snow is expected to fall beginning tonight and may increase in intensity on Tuesday. Accumulations of six to nine inches are forecast, and winds may cause dangerous blowing and drifting conditions.
Road conditions may deteriorate rapidly during this storm. Previous storms – including the ice accumulation this past weekend – have drawn down the City’s supply of salt/sand mix. The City is currently at 32% capacity of salt/sand mix - enough material to treat the emergency routes one time. Orders for 3,000 tons of salt were placed in December, but national demand has limited deliveries since that time. Crews will only use plowing operations until the snow has ended, at which time the remaining salt/sand mix will be used when it is most effective.
Blowing and drifting snow, coupled with the diminished supply of treatment material, may lead to hazardous road conditions. Motorists are encouraged to drive with caution and follow the following tips:
- Plan extra time to reach your destination;
- Keep your vehicle in proper working order;
- Slow down in slick conditions, allow for extra stopping distance;
- Clear windows and windshield of ice, snow and other obstructions;
- And stay away from safety equipment on the roads.