Kansas Division of Emergency Management officials are urging Kansans to prepare for snow and dangerous sub-zero temperatures and wind chills this weekend into early next week. The National Weather Service is forecasting two cold fronts with the first bringing colder temperatures into Kansas Saturday with snowfall accumulations ranging from a quarter inch to an inch and a half. Then dangerously low temperatures are expected to move into much of the state Sunday with winds of 20 to 25 miles an hour and wind chills of 10 to 30 degrees below zero Sunday night through Tuesday morning.
“This is an extremely dangerous forecast and taking precautions to ensure your safety and your family’s safety is essential,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, director of Kansas Division of Emergency Management and adjutant general. “Simply, put, these temperatures and wind chills can be deadly.”
“If you must travel in these conditions, make sure your cell phone is charged, your gas tank is full, and you have plenty of items to help you stay safe if your vehicle stalls or you are in an accident and have to wait for help,” Tafanelli added.
“Make sure your home emergency kit has what you need to survive if there is a power outage in this bitter cold,” Tafanelli said. “This includes blankets, a safe alternate heat source, nonperishable foods and high-energy snacks, bottled water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, medicines, a first-aid kit and other items for keeping your children and pets comfortable in this situation.”
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 to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold their body heat if they must remain outside. Always make sure that your pets have access to food and non-frozen water.
For additional pet safety information, go to www.redcross.org and for general winter preparedness information, go to www.ksready.gov.
Winter Driving Tips from the Kansas Highway Patrol:
If you must travel in the upcoming winter storm, the Kansas Highway Patrol offers to following tips to prepare your vehicle: Check the fluids, ensuring that the radiator is winterized, the gas tank is over half-full, and there is plenty of windshield washing fluid. Check belts, hoses, and brake systems for excessive wear. Have the exhaust system checked; small leaks can allow carbon monoxide to enter the passenger compartment. Check tire treads for adequate traction, and replace windshield wiper blades if they are ineffective.
Keep an emergency kit that includes at least the following:
• An ice scraper and shovel
• Jumper cables
• Sand or kitty litter for traction
• Extra blankets or clothing
• Non-perishable food
• A first aid kit
• Matches and candles or flares
• Tow rope or chain
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 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.
Road Conditions Available from the Kansas Department of Transportation:
Road conditions are available through the Kansas Department of Transportation. Check conditions before travel by going to www.kandrive.org or on a mobile device, go to http://511mm.ksdot.org. You may also call 5-1-1 from any phone.