Kansas under winter weather advisory – prepare for winter storms – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Kansas under winter weather advisory – prepare for winter storms

TOPEKA, Kan. – The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for much of Kansas, due to a storm that began Monday in the northwestern portion of the state and moved eastward throughout the day. Snow was forecast to reach east central, north central and northeast Kansas by Tuesday, transitioning to freezing rain, then rain. Though the storms are expected to gradually move out of the state this evening, NWS and Gov. Laura Kelly are reminding citizens to get prepared for winter storms.

“If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to make sure your home and vehicle emergency kits are well-stocked,” Kelly said. “This storm hits us right in the middle of the holiday season when many people are on the road. I urge you to avoid travel, if possible, but if you must travel, be sure to leave early and listen to your local weather stations to keep updated on road conditions.

“Take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.  Don’t travel if you are not feeling well, wear your mask, stay six feet away from individuals outside your household and wash your hands often.”

A home emergency kit should include food, water, medications, extra clothing, flashlights and batteries, battery-operated NOAA weather radio and other necessities. Make sure your kit includes supplies for your pet.

Travel only if necessary

Vehicle emergency kits should include blankets, flashlights, batteries, a cell phone charger, hand-warmers, high-energy food snacks, bottled water, necessary medications, a snow shovel, flares and other emergency supplies. Make sure your cell phone is charged and someone is aware of your itinerary, including expected time of arrival.

On the road, remember the following:

  • Allow extra time for delays and slower traffic speeds.
  • Buckle up and properly secure children in safety seats.
  • Increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Ice and snow significantly increase your stopping distance.
  • Accelerate and brake gently. A light foot on the gas is less likely to make wheels spin on ice and snow. Braking is best accomplished by pumping the pedal. If your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system, it is very important that you understand how to use it. Read the owner’s manual or check with a dealership for more information, and practice using it correctly.
  • Make turns slowly and gradually, especially in heavily traveled areas (e.g. intersections that may be icy from snow that melted and refroze).
  • Visibility is very important. You must be able to see out, and other drivers must be able to see your vehicle. Clean frost and snow off all windows, mirrors, and lights. Use headlights as necessary.
  • If your car loses traction and begins to slide, steer into the swerve, or in the direction you want to go. Anticipate a second skid in the opposite direction as the car straightens out.

If you are stranded in a winter storm, do not panic. Stay in the vehicle, keep fresh air circulating through a downwind window, run the motor sparingly, turn on the dome light, and make sure the vehicle’s tailpipe is clear of snow. Stimulate circulation and stay awake by moving arms and legs. If you leave the car, work slowly in the snow to avoid over-exertion and the risk of a heart attack.

If you have a cell phone, call a Kansas Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (47), or *KTA (582) while on the Kansas Turnpike.

Check road conditions

State road and travel conditions are available at the Kansas Department of Transportation’s website – www.Kandrive.org. Impacts to traffic are updated 24/7, including maintenance and construction activities, winter highway conditions, flooded roadways, incidents and crashes affecting traffic and closed highways. You may also call 5-1-1 for Kansas road conditions, outside Kansas call 1-866-511-5368 (KDOT).

Avoid travel if you can.  If you do travel, make sure someone knows your travel plans, fill your car’s tank with fuel, ensure your mobile phone is charged, and make sure your car’s emergency kit is up-to-date. Whether at home or on the road, listen to your local radio and television stations for the latest weather information.

Remember the animals

Outdoor pets are especially vulnerable to bitter cold and extreme wind chills. Bring outdoor pets inside if possible or ensure that they have a draft-free enclosure with straw-type bedding that is large enough for your pets to lie down, but small enough to hold in body heat if they must remain outside. Always make sure that your pets have access to food and non-frozen water.

Companion animals are not the only animals in need of protection during the winter months. Livestock, including horses, have their own unique considerations and needs when the weather gets colder.

Provide appropriate shelter from the elements: Livestock can generally tolerate cold temperatures, but wind, rain, or snow will require a greater expenditure of calories. With that in mind, be sure they have a way to get out of the elements, especially the wind. Blankets can help protect horses, but a structural shelter with proper ventilation and dry bedding is the best method of protection. If you do blanket your horses, be sure to check underneath often for signs of injury, infection, or malnutrition.

Consider the amount and quality of feed: Besides taking shelter, livestock keep warm by expending energy, which means they need to consume enough calories to heat themselves.

Ensure access to water: It is crucial that your herd has access to fresh and unfrozen water. Tank heaters or heated buckets can help keep water at a temperature your animals are more comfortable drinking. Livestock will not consume adequate amounts of water if it is near freezing, and consuming enough water is important to your animals’ health and well-being in winter months.

National Weather Service graphic; information thanks to Kansas Adjutant General’s Department.

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