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Prepare for winter weather this Christmas holiday
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Many parts of the nation have been hit hard with bad weather recently and now snow is in the forecast for Kansas. Local and state safety officials are urging everyone to check their emergency supplies in their home and automobile, particularly if you are planning to travel over the holiday weekend.

"We won’t know until it hits us," Barton County Sheriff Greg Armstrong said about the pending weather.

Current forecasts call for a potential winter storm to impact portions of the state Thursday and Friday. Most of Northeast and East Central Kansas will probably receive a period of mixed type of precipitation, followed by a change of snow Thursday night lasting into the daytime hours on Friday, dropping from one to four inches of snow.

"If you plan to travel, even a short distance, be prepared," said Angee Morgan, deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. "Make sure your gas tank is full and your tires are in good shape. Keep extra blankets, a first-aid kit, high energy snacks, bottled water, a safe, alternate heating source, necessary medications and other emergency supplies in your trunk. Make sure your cell phone is charged. Let someone know your travel route and itinerary."

"Simple precautions taken now can be life-saving if bad weather strands you along the road," said Morgan.

"Drivers just need to take care," Armstrong said. He also advised motorists leave a littler earlier to allow more time for travel in case the weather becomes a factor.

Morgan said it is important to take similar precautions even if you are staying at home. She said it is wise to take necessary precautions that would allow you and your family to survive for a minimum of three days if severe weather knocks out power and makes the roads impassable to rescue and utility crews.

"These precautions are particularly vital for persons living in rural areas, where help may have to come from farther away," said Morgan, "and where your nearest neighbor may live a mile or more from you."

Another good idea is to establish a phone network to check-up on friends and family on a regular basis.

"You may be just fine in your own home," said Morgan, "but it’s a good idea to keep in contact with each other, especially if you or someone you know lives alone."

For more information about preparing for emergencies at home and on the road, go to