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Snow and ice visit area briefly
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Shortly before noon, traffic and pedestrians had no problem navigating the remnants of snow and ice quickly melting from roadways in Great Bend. Wednesday night, rain turning to snow and gusty winds of over 50 mph made driving a challenge for some motorists, and resulted in some area schools calling for a two hour late start Thursday morning. - photo by Veronica Coons

Snow blew into Barton County Wednesday night around 7 p.m., starting first with sleet and rain.  In Great Bend, the snow didn’t begin to stick until after 9 p.m.  Icy conditions were a problem for drivers with several sliding off roadways into the ditch.  Motorists woke up to a thin blanket of icy snow and began the task of clearing pavement and defrosting and scraping windshields before hitting the streets.  

Schools in Great Bend started on time, but around the area several districts called a two-hour late start.  Hoisington, Macksville and Dighton started late, and Larned and Central Plains started late and cancelled morning pre-school.  St. John and Hudson schools started on time Thursday morning after KWCH television corrected an erroneous report that they would start two hours late Wednesday night, according to a post on the district’s facebook page.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Wichita said an observer in Great Bend reported accumulation of two inches of snow, which was a little less than anticipated.  Overall, between one and a half and two inches was recorded throughout the Great Bend, Russell and Lincoln area, and less further southeast.  McPherson received three and a quarter inches.
Winds at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport were clocked at 53 mph overnight, which was representative of the area.  Martin Miller, airport manager at the Great Bend Municipal Airport said airport workers were moving snow around the buildings next to the runways Thursday morning.

“The airport remained open throughout the event,” he said. “We monitored throughout the night, and had no interruption in air service.”   The airport monitors weather continuously 365 days a year, Miller said.  

The weekend looks good for holiday shoppers with temperatures gradually warming from the mid 30s to the mid 40s by Friday and Saturday. Another front is building, however, which may produce a little snow by Christmas, along with frigid temperatures, with highs in the mid 20s expected Christmas day.  The N.O.A. expects to know better in the next day or two, but cold weather is certainly on the way.  

Barton County Sheriff reports the following snow related accidents as of Thursday morning:

The storm caused a broken power line around 10 p.m. Wednesday at 336 College View Drive. The area was without power for a time and the Great Bend Fire Department had to extinguish a fire on the pole.

The Barton County Sheriff’s Office reports a car slid off east U.S. 56 near NE 50 Ave. at 12:40 a.m. Thursday, but was not damaged.

Wreckers were needed later in the morning; a Dodge truck slid off the road in the 200 block of SW 40 Ave., near Straub International, at 7:46 a.m., and at 8:03 a Durango went off the 300 block of NE 110 Ave. A GMC Envoy went off the 700 block of North U.S. 281, just south of the brick plant, at 9:22 a.m. A cell phone call about a rollover accident just south of Otis at 9:57 a.m. was transferred to Rush County.

The sheriff’s office also handled an accident in Great Bend at 12:06 a.m. Thursday, when a Chevrolet Impala slid on the ice in the 2700 block of Broadway Ave. and struck the curb. Damage was under $1,000.