A winter storm system is forecast to descend across Kansas today and Saturday with snowfall averaging between one to four inches in most regions of the state.
Heavier snowfall is forecast for far northeast Kansas. Gusty winds, cold temperatures and wind chills are expected across much of the state. Slick roads are possible with low visibility at times.
According to the National Weather Service’s local forecast, there is chance of rain and snow before 7 p.m. today, then snow likely. Patchy blowing snow after 11 p.m. with clouds and a low around 16.
It will be windy, with a north wind 21 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts as high as 39 mph. The chance of precipitation is 70 percent.
Into Saturday, there os a 20 percent chance of patchy, blowing snow before 7 a.m. It will become partly sunny, with a high near 27 and blustery, with a north wind 19 to 24 mph decreasing to 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.
The low Saturday is expected to be around 16. But, the high on Sunday could reach 41.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management will activate the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka to an enhanced steady state to monitor weather conditions and stand by to receive any requests for state assistance.
“I encourage all Kansans to stay warm and safe during the projected snow storm in the coming days,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “Avoid travel if possible and keep an eye on the weather forecast as the storm moves and develops.”
“Kansans are urged to change or delay their travel plans in these areas until the storm moves through,” said Jonathan York, Response and Recovery Branch director. “If you plan to travel, use caution and make sure your car emergency kit is stocked.”
Winter road conditions are accessible by dialing 5-1-1 from your mobile phone anywhere in Kansas; outside Kansas call 1-866-511-5368 (KDOT). Road conditions many also be viewed on the Kansas Department of Transportation web site at kandrive.org.
If you must travel, be sure your car’s gas tank is full and you have an emergency kit. Vehicle emergency kits should include blankets, flashlights, batteries, a cell phone charger, hand-warmers, high-energy food snacks, bottled water, necessary medications, a snow shovel, flares and other emergency supplies. Make sure your cell phone is charged and someone is aware of your itinerary, including expected time of arrival.
Information on winter driving tips is available from the Kansas Highway Patrol at kansashighwaypatrol.org/259/Winter-Driving-Tips. One can also follow the Kansas Highway Patrol on Facebook and Twitter atkansashighwaypatrol.org.
In the cold, don’t forget the four-legged family members:
• Pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather.
• Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather.
• Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to chase off cats that might be seeking refuge.
• Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding.
• If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat.
• Wipe down: During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic.
• Hot cars are a known threat to pets, but cold cars also pose significant risk. Limit car travel to only that which is necessary, and don’t leave your pet unattended.
• Clean up any antifreeze spills quickly, as even small amounts of antifreeze can be deadly.
• Make sure your house is properly pet-proofed since they may be inside more.
• When walking your dog, stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. The ice may be thin.
• If you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water. The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds.