TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Kansas Division of Emergency Management has activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka to a partial level in response to a severe winter storm system affecting the western region of the state and flooding in southeast Kansas on Sunday. Representatives from the Kansas National Guard, Kansas Department of Transportation, Department for Children and Families, Office of State Fire Marshal, Kansas Highway Patrol and American Red Cross are in the SEOC to coordinate response efforts.
The winter storm system is expected to produce heavy snowfall and blizzard-like conditions through early Monday with total snowfall accumulations of 6 to 14 inches in the western half of the state. North winds of 25 to 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph are possible, creating whiteout conditions.
Significant rain is also causing flash flooding and river flooding in the eastern third of the state. A widespread two to four inches of rainfall has been received across the eastern third of the state, with the highest amounts across Bourbon, Cherokee, Crawford, Labette, and Neosho counties.
Gov. Sam Brownback declared a state of emergency at 6 p.m. Saturday. The declaration names Cheyenne, Decatur, Gove, Graham, Greeley, Logan, Norton, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas, Wallace, and Wichita counties. The declaration also designates an emergency for flooding in Bourbon, Cherokee, Crawford, and Neosho counties.
Kansas National Guard Stranded Motorist Assistance Recovery Teams are operational to assist motorists stranded by closed or impassable roads. Teams are working out of Colby with additional teams on standby or moving to Greeley, Kearny, Lane, Morton, and Norton counties. The Colby and Norton armories are also open as warming centers for stranded motorists.
Swift water rescue teams from Cherokee County and the Southeast Region Search and Rescue Task Force 4 are on standby to assist with flooding in Cherokee County, if needed. All counties affected by snow or have a potential for flooding have been contacted by the state emergency operations center.
The KDEM southeast regional coordinator is in Cherokee County to assist with response operations. The SEOC will remain staffed 24/7 until further notice.