Archive for Thursday, December 14, 2000

Winter storm hits fast, hard

December 14, 2000

An Arctic Clipper producing freezing rain and snow made travel difficult for drivers and pedestrians this week.

The bitter cold didn't break the 1989 record of 5-degrees below zero, but it came close with temperatures bottoming out a zero degrees Tuesday.

The cold temperatures made clearing roadways difficult, producing a higher number of traffic accidents in the area.

Basehor had a higher than usual number of minor fender benders and icy conditions and snow made it difficult to maneuver roadways. City employees were out clearing roadways and assisting the public during the winter storms, which caused Basehor-Linwood School District to close schools. As of Wednesday, the schools had been closed for the week.

Although people were out-and-about, bitter winds and snow drove people to the warmth of their homes, with sparse traffic on city roads.

Bonner Springs had its share of traffic accidents, as road crews were out all day treating thoroughfares and streets.

"We stock up (on salt and sand) and try to anticipate bad weather," City Manager Weldon Padgett said. "We had a fairly mild January and February this year so we have plenty."

"This is unusual, but it could have been worse," he added.

Wind chills of more than 30 degrees below zero, single digit temperatures and heavy snow caused school closings in Bonner Springs for most of the weeks.

Edwardsville had more than double its normal weekly accident tally on Monday.

Five traffic accidents were reported at I-435 and K-32 alone.

"We had one minor-injury accident and four were non-injury," said Police Chief John Ellison.

The Kansas Department of Transportation was out in full force trying to treat I-435, but a thin layer of ice, covered by snow, coupled with low temperatures made the effort difficult.

Most salt products aren't effective with temperatures below 5 degrees, officials said. And sand, although effective, doesn't work well in these temperatures.

Weather forecasters say it won't be until this weekend that temperatures reach 40 degrees.

The cold air from the north, mixed with a low pressure system that produced 5 to 8 inches of snow in some areas, which covered over a blanket of ice from Monday's storm.

Last week temperatures topped out at 65 degrees. Some areas in the metro Tuesday morning reached zero degrees, with a high of 14 degrees.

This didn't give any relief to Felix Hernandez of Kansas City, Kan., whose car was trapped in Bonner Springs Sunday and Monday.

"It just won't crank," he said. "It isn't used to this type of cold."

Forecasters are expecting this winter to be a cold one, unlike the past decade, with intermittent arctic blasts, ice and snow.

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