KDEM: Officials monitoring blizzard and fire potential

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) - The Kansas Division of Emergency Management is monitoring several weather events in the state. The department has activated the State Emergency Operations Center to monitor weather conditions and coordinate state assistance as requested. The Kansas National Guard has five Stranded Motorist Assistance Teams on alert to patrol major roadways, if needed.


Current weather predicts blizzard conditions in much of northwest Kansas today through Saturday. The region could see snowfall with hurricane force winds gusts up to 80 mph.

Travel is expected to be dangerous and at times impossible throughout much of northwest Kansas including Goodland, Colby and Hill City. Damage to power lines may occur. High winds may cause blow over of high profile vehicles. Some roads are expected to drift shut.

Kansas Division of Emergency Management officials are urging Kansans to avoid travel if possible. If you must travel, include a car emergency kit in your vehicle and be sure to alert someone that you are departing and advise them of your route and expected arrival time. Let this person know when you have arrived safely at your destination.

If you stay home, it is a good idea to make sure your home emergency kit is well-stocked, too, due to the possibility of power failures.

For more winter weather preparedness tips, go online to www.ksready.gov, www.ready.gov or call your county emergency management office.

State road and travel conditions may be accessed at the Kansas Department of Transportation KanDrive website www.kandrive.org or on a mobile device, go to 511mm.ksdot.org. You may also call 5-1-1 from any phone.

Information on winter driving tips is available from the Kansas Highway Patrol. You may also follow the Kansas Highway Patrol on Facebook and Twitter at www.kansashighwaypatrol.org.

Elsewhere in the state, high winds are expected in most regions with gusts up to 50-60 mph. These winds, coupled with dry conditions, have created very high to extreme fire risks across multiple regions prompting Red Flag Warnings for fire risk from the National Weather Service for portions of south central, central and eastern Kansas in an area that includes Emporia, Fredonia, Hutchinson, and Manhattan.

Additional severe weather risk is expected from early Friday afternoon through early evening across the eastern third of Kansas with the possibility of severe thunderstorms, 1-2 inch hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.

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