It didn’t always look slick, but for anyone who tried to move around Wednesday there was no mistaking the treacherous winter conditions that hit the Golden Belt.
Freezing drizzle and temperatures in the low 20s persisted throughout the day, causing vehicles to slide around corners and into ditches. One Great Bend man who was directing a semi-trailer in the alley behind Office Products Inc. in downtown Great Bend lost his footing and slid under the moving truck. Lt. Bill Browne at the Great Bend Police Department said his injuries were not life-threatening, but he was transported to Great Bend Regional Hospital.
The only other injury accident in town as of Wednesday afternoon was at Broadway and Patton Road, where a vehicle slid into a light pole. The driver was not transported to a hospital.
Browne said the city is operating under the emergency accident reporting plan until road conditions improve. Anyone who is involved in a non-injury accident where vehicles are still driveable should exchange telephone numbers, insurance information and license tag numbers, and contact the Great Bend Police Department at a later date. This applies only if no alcohol or criminal activity is involved.
The Barton County Sheriff’s Office was also seeing its share of vehicles in ditches Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff Greg Armstrong said. There was an injury accident in the 400 block of West Barton County Road and another accident in the 800 block of West Barton County Road.
"In this kind of weather, we are discouraging all traffic," Armstrong said. "It is extremely icy." Armstrong said anyone who must drive in this weather should go slow, allow extra travel time and refrain from tailgating.
A forecaster at the National Weather Service office in Wichita said Barton County would likely remain under a winter weather advisory into today, as the freezing drizzle was expected to continue into Wednesday night. Eventually, that was expected to give way to light snow. If forecasts were correct, Barton County residents awoke today to up to an inch of snow.
The temperature will reach 26 to 28 degrees today, returning to normal highs of around 40 degrees on Friday and Saturday, the forecaster predicted. But another storm front will be on the way, bringing a chance of snow and dipping back into the 20s Sunday.