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Bracing for the winds
High gusts expected to whip area Wednesday
new deh high wind warning pic
High winds helped fan the flames that consumed this rural Barton County home in 2013. High winds are again predicted for central Kansas on Wednesday and officials are urging caution. - photo by Tribune file photo

Veterans Day dedication to go on despite wind

County officials said Tuesday afternoon that the dedication of the first stone at Golden Belt Veteran’s Memorial is still a go for Wednesday afternoon, even with the high winds in the forecast.

The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Golden Belt Memorial Park north of Great Bend at 59 NW 50 Road. The program is expected to last a half hour to 45 minutes.

 A strong cold front is poised to cross Kansas, including Barton County, Wednesday morning. In its wake, very windy and dry conditions are anticipated with active fire weather conditions statewide, according to the Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council.

The advise from the Great Bend Fire Department is simple: Just don’t burn anything. No burn permits will be issued until the forecast calls for calmer conditions.

Fire isn’t the only concern. “I’d be cautious about any kind of travel,” said Barton County Emergency Manager Amy Miller.

Intense crosswinds on north south open highways will make travel difficult, the National Weather Service reported. Light structural damage is possible, especially to roofs. Light objects may be blown around and some commercial power interruption is also possible.

There is also the blowing dust that will reduce visibility, Miller said. She advised motorists to check their proposed routes before leaving.

Strongest winds are expected to focus across western and central Kansas Wednesday morning and into the afternoon. Wind gusts exceeding 50 mile per hour are likely, with sustained winds of 30-40 mph. The most potent combination of winds and low relative humidity will be concentrated from central to eastern Kansas in the afternoon, and these will be the areas with highest fire danger.

According to the NWS, the area includes Barton, Ellsworth, Rice and Russell counties. This takes in Ellsworth, Great Bend, Lyons and Russell.

Most parts of the state has experienced their first freeze and seasonal grasses and shrubs are dead. Dry conditions, particularly in the east and central parts of the state during the last few weeks have allowed these fuels to cure and be potent fire carriers. The combination of strong winds and dried fuels will make fire suppression very difficult.

The Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council, a coalition of state and federal agencies with the goal of providing an integrated approach to fire management, urges everyone to be aware of potential ignition sources including: cigarette butts, car exhaust, and waste burning. Avoid exposure to fuel sources such as dried grass, brush, leaves and other materials that are easy to ignite.  Outdoor burning should be avoided.

For further forecast information, access your local National Weather Service Office at

For real-time weather conditions nearest to you, visit the Kansas Mesonet at