‘There may be a challenging commute tonight’: Winter storm closes Kansas schools, causes crashes

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Wichita says it is working 24 hours a day to clear the main streets of snow and ice during the winter storm affecting the area.

Public Works and Utilities crews started putting a salt and sand mix on 1,500 lane miles early Sunday.

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“About 4:30 this morning, we noticed there was some accumulating snow to the point where it made sense to put our plows down and start plowing the roadways as well,” said Ben Nelson, Senior Manager, Wichita Public Works and Utilities.

The police department says there were some noninjury accidents during the Monday morning commute, but it does not have exact numbers because the Emergency Accident Reporting Plan (EARP) is in effect, meaning people can wait as long as 48 hours to submit an accident report.

“We anticipate there may be a challenging commute tonight and even potentially tomorrow morning,” Nelson said. “There’s always a danger that as we get overnight and temperatures remain below freezing, that any of the slush or liquid that’s still on the roadways, that that could refreeze and provide some challenges for drivers.”

Officials ask that drivers allow themselves more time to get to their destinations, slow down, and don’t follow plows or other vehicles too closely.

The winter storm has closed schools, snarled traffic and caused a fatality crash in Kansas.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for northeast and southern Kansas.

Accumulations of 1 to 4 inches were predicted.

The Kansas Department of Transportation says multiple roads are partially or completely snow-covered. Several crashes were reported.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says 21-year-old Jimmy Romero was killed Sunday when a pickup truck in which he was riding overturned on an icy Wichita road.

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