WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The City of Wichita and the Homeless Outreach Team (H.O.T.) are preparing for winter weather.

City of Wichita

With a wintry mix turning into snow on Tuesday night, the City of Wichita is treating its roads for the weather.

“Staff is on full activation and began treating streets around noon today with salt-sand mix,” Interim Assistant Director of Public Works and Utilities Aaron Henning said on Tuesday. “We were fully stocked with 6,000 tons of salt-sand mix on hand and ready to deploy.”

According to Henning, full activation consists of 150 workers operating around the clock, alternating on a 12-hour shift. The City also has 17,500 tons of straight salt in emergency reserve that can be used to make up to 35,000 tons of mix if they need it.

“On average, we use about a thousand tons of salt sand mix per event, but that varies significantly depending on the amount and type of precipitation, how long the event lasts and how cold the temperatures are,” Henning said.

Henning says during the 2021-2022 winter season, the City used about 12,000 tons of salt-sand mix in total. So far this winter season, the city has used about 5,000 tons.

With over 5,000 lane miles of streets in Wichita, Henning says the City will be treating streets by priority.

“We first focus on 1,500 lane miles of emergency routes and major arterials, paying special attention to major traffic routes that serve hospitals, emergency facilities and public schools,” said Henning. “And then, when conditions allow, we transition to designated minor arterial streets as well residential school access streets. And those amount to about 300 additional lane miles.”

Henning says the City does not treat or maintain federal or state highways, including Kansas Highway 96, Interstate 35, Interstate 125 and Kellogg.

The City of Wichita has over 60 dump trucks mounted with plows and material spreaders. You can track the snow plows at wichita.gov/snowremoval.

Homeless Outreach Team (HOT)

The Homeless Outreach Team says they will be working during the winter weather to connect unhoused residents to services and get them into winter shelters.

“We’re handing our pamphlets and service information to area businesses and organizations to help connect folks to services,” Officer Nate Schwiethale said.

Schwiethale is encouraging homeless individuals to seek shelters such as United Methodist Open Door, Union Rescue Mission Wichita, and/or a HumanKind Ministries Emergency Winter Shelter, as he says the extreme cold can turn deadly very quickly, especially in Kansas.

A full list of shelter, housing and meal services is available at wichita.gov/homeless.

If you notice an individual is in need of homeless services, Schwiethale encourages you to call the HOT at 316-854-3013. You can also call United Way at 211 for a list of full shelters, housing, and meal services. You can also visit 211Kansas.org.