Archive for Wednesday, February 6, 2002

Basehor manages through ice storm

February 6, 2002

Power to residents' homes has been restored, broken tree limbs have been picked up, and ice and snow from last week's storm has started to melt.

Conditions in Basehor and the rest of Leavenworth County were deemed severe enough to be listed on Kansas Gov. Bill Graves' list of counties in a state of disaster.

Leavenworth County Emergency Management director Chuck Magaha said the county lost approximately $92,000 due to the storms.

The total includes paying overtime, materials for streets and equipment breaking down.

To get public assistance, the estimated loss had to be at least $150,000, Magaha said.

In Basehor, police officers monitored city streets, City Hall was open as a disaster relief center and the Public Works Department worked around the clock to make sure roadways were safe.

"We put down 58 tons of sand and salt in three days," said Gene Myracle, Basehor city superintendent. "The whole time it was just blade, sand and salt, blade, sand and salt."

Myracle said he and other public works employees worked 14-to 17-hour days, keeping city roadways passable.

The hard work of the public works department did not go unnoticed.

Basehor Police Chief Vince Weston commended the Public Works Department for keeping the streets safe for city motorists.

"You have to hand it to them," Weston said. "There was nowhere in town we couldn't get to."

Weston said no automobile accidents were reported during the storm, which he described as the worst since being on the Police Department.

"People drove well and the streets were treated in a timely fashion," he said.

Adrian Forson said this was the worst storm she had experienced since moving to her home on 157th Street in Basehor.

"We've been out here 13 years and this is the worst I've ever seen," she said.

She and her husband spent three days clearing the ice off their driveway and front steps, and they lost power to their house for almost 13 hours.

Leavenworth County officials reported only one accident caused by the ice storm.

On Wednesday, Jan. 30, two of the Alex R. Mason greenhouse buildings in Linwood collapsed due to the ice buildup on the rooftops.

According to the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department, one greenhouse employee received minor injuries but refused medical treatment at the scene.

And while power outages were spread all over the area, many cities such as Basehor, Leavenworth and Bonner Springs provided temporary shelter houses to those displaced by the storms.

Basehor city officials said no one reported to City Hall for temporary shelter last week.

"One person called and said he might come in, but no one ever actually showed up," said Mary Ann Mogle, Basehor city clerk.

City Hall has been used as a disaster relief shelter previously. City officials said the building housed 20 to 25 people during a tornado last year.

It was a tumultuous week that many residents are happy to see over.

At least one area meteorologist said the ice storms would probably be the worst conditions experienced this winter.

"It should be pretty much normal, like it is every other year, the rest of the way," said Mike Seaman, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Many have called last week's ice storms the worst in Kansas history. Seaman said he couldn't disagree with that theory.

"From what I saw, it was the worst since 1984 if not for the last 100 years," he said.

Although the storms were dangerous, Seaman said the soil in Kansas needed the precipitation received from last week's snow and ice.

Until the storms, it had been unseasonably dry, he said.

"We were in need of the moisture we got last week," Seaman said. "It should have a real positive impact."

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