Major snow storm threatens Kansas; governor closes state offices for Tuesday – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Major snow storm threatens Kansas; governor closes state offices for Tuesday

National Weather Service in Topeka has upgraded a winter storm watch to a winter storm warning, in effect until 6 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, and the governor has announced that state offices in Shawnee County will be closed Tuesday.

Light snow is expected to begin in north central Kansas this evening, and accumulating snow will encompass all of north central, northeast and east central portions of the state during the pre-dawn hours Tuesday. The heaviest snow is expected between 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday, with accumulating snow gradually coming to an end Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning. Widespread snow accumulations are predicted to range from 5 to 9 inches with locally higher amounts  Increasing winds are expected to cause areas of blowing and drifting snow to develop Tuesday afternoon and continue through early Wednesday morning.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s announcement closed all state offices in Shawnee County, affecting only non-essential executive branch employees scheduled to work between 6 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 4, to 6 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 5.

“This storm is looking to be the largest winter storm we have had in 2014,” said Brownback. “Although the storm will hit most of the state, the most affected areas will be the northeast, north central and south central regions. We urge motorists to be prepared for snowy road conditions and limited visibility due to blowing snow.”

With the forecast of the major winter storm system, state officials are urging all Kansans to make sure they are prepared.

“We ask Kansans to make sure your home emergency kit is stocked with enough water and nonperishable food for everyone in the household for a minimum of three days,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and Kansas Division of Emergency Management director. “Have a safe alternate heat source, blankets, flashlights and batteries, a battery-operated weather radio, medications and other essentials to remain safely at home.”

Col. Ernest Garcia, Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent, is advising motorists to postpone travel plans if possible.

“If you must be on the road, make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is stocked, your gas tank is full and your cell phone and charger are with you and someone knows your travel plans,” Garcia said.

Travel is expected to become difficult and dangerous. Gusty winds will result in reduced visibility from blowing snow and drifting snow. Wind chills are predicted to fall to dangerously cold levels north and west of the Kansas turnpike Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, ranging from 13 to 20 degrees below zero.

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