Brownback and emergency officials urge Kansans to stay home as weekend ice storm approaches

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, held a news conference Friday afternoon to address the state’s preparations for the winter ice storm that is expected to hit the state beginning Friday afternoon. Freezing rain has already started in SE Kansas.

The National Weather Service says ice accumulations of a quarter inch up to half an inch or more are expected this weekend with the first round hitting the southern part of the state in the Wichita area up to Emporia throughout the day and into the night on Friday.

Higher accumulation will occur through Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Tafanelli says the state has been preparing for the storm for five days.

“We’ve had a series of conference calls with our division of emergency management, county emergency managers, and other key members to identify any shortfall of resources, any requirements that they may have that they can not meet.”

Tafanelli says 178 Kansas National Guardsmen have been activated for this event, a number of them responsible to help with stranded motorists, assistance response teams and to help local law enforcement and first responders.

The Kansas Department of Transportation says highway crews are ready for round the clock coverage and urge travelers to give snow plows plenty of room to operate.

The Kansas Highway Patrol advised that people stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

“If you do have to be out make sure to have a full tank of gas, working wipers and to increase your distance and reduce speed.”

Travelers can call 511 and get the most up to date road conditions from KDOT.

If you are in need of assistance for food or medical assistance call the United Way at 211 for help. In a life threatening emergency call 911.

Westar Energy says if you do encounter a down power line it is very important that you stay away from it and should assume it is energized and could cause injury or even death and should call 911 immediately.

The KSNT Storm Track Weather team is continuing to track cold weather heading into the holiday weekend. Daytime temperatures will be trapped in the 20s today, before gradually warming over the weekend. That’s good news because when temps are greater than 32°, freezing rain is not possible. Even with that being said, roads will be slick and travel is highly discouraged this weekend.

CLICK HERE for more on this weekend’s weather.

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