Although the shortest day of winter has passed, spring is still months away and the potential for severe winter weather is once again in the forecast. The Kansas Division of Emergency Management is alerting Kansans to the probability of a severe winter storm beginning Friday afternoon and extending into the weekend.
The biggest concern is the potential for icy conditions. Current forecasts call for temperatures to drop from the 60s on Wednesday into the 30s by Thursday with strong winds bringing the wind chill factor down into the teens. Friday is forecast to be even colder with snow showers and a wintry mix of rain and sleet beginning in portions of the state. Freezing rain is possible on Saturday, changing to rain on Sunday with temperatures in the mid-30s. Temperatures are expected to rise into the low 40s on Monday with occasional rain and drizzle.
With any winter storm that involves winds, and mixtures of snow, sleet and ice, there lurks the potential for power outages, so KDEM reminds Kansans to check their winter emergency kits ahead of the storm and replenish any needed supplies. Emergency kits should include a minimum three-day supply of water (one gallon per day per person), nonperishable high-energy foods, extra blankets, flashlights and extra batteries, a safe alternate heat source, extra medications and other essentials. If you have a power generator, make sure it is in working order and you have plenty of fuel.
Kansans are encouraged to stay indoors, but if you must go outside, be sure to dress warmly and wear sturdy shoes or boots with good traction. Watch for ice accumulations that may cause tree limbs and power lines to fall. Don’t work alone outdoors and take frequent warming breaks.
Pet owners are reminded to see to the needs of their pets, particularly if kept outdoors. When making your home emergency kit, make one for your pets, as well, with the same three-day supply of food and water, and other essentials. Ensure that your pet has a warm, dry shelter with straw or other bedding material, and access to food and water that is not covered by snow or ice. If you do not have a heated water dish, make sure to replace the water at least daily when temperatures drop below freezing. During particularly severe conditions, bring the pet indoors to a garage, mud room or other warm area.
Road travel is discouraged during extreme storm situations, particularly when the forecast indicates the potential for icy build-up on roads. However, if you must travel, take extra precautions to keep yourself and your family safe. Keep at least a half a tank of gas in your car at all times in case you get stranded or stuck in traffic. Arrange your travel plans to leave well ahead of bad weather and keep an emergency kit in your car.
Recommended items to include in your vehicle:
- Snack food
- Windshield scraper and small broom
- Battery powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Extra hats, socks and mittens
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- Tow chain or rope
- Road salt and sand
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares
- Fluorescent distress flag
Information on winter driving tips is available from the Kansas Highway Patrol at http://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/259/Winter-Driving-Tips . You can also follow the Kansas Highway Patrol on Facebook and Twitter at www.kansashighwaypatrol.org.
If you must travel, get the latest road information from the Kansas Department of Transportation by calling 5-1-1 or visiting the Kandrive website at kandrive.org. To find information on road conditions when not in the state, call 1-866-511-5368.
For a complete list of items for a home or car emergency kit and for other helpful preparedness information, go to www.ksready.gov