Multiple roads and highways have been closed in western Kansas due to heavy snowfall and blizzard-like conditions that have made them impassible. This includes I-70, which has been closed to all traffic from Hays west to Colorado.
Kansans are urged to change or delay their travel plans until road conditions improve. 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. Information on winter driving tips is available from the Kansas Highway Patrol at www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/press/news_info/winter_drive.html. You can also follow the Kansas Highway Patrol on Facebook and Twitter at www.kansashighwaypatrol.org.
Heavy rains are causing flooding and flash floods in southeast Kansas. Motorists are advised to use caution in these areas, as well. Do not drive through flooded roadways since even 18 inches of water is sufficient to float a vehicle.
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.
For a complete list of items for an emergency kit, go to www.ksready.gov.
The Kansas National Guard has dispatched Stranded Motorist Assistance Recovery Teams to patrol roads in western Kansas looking for stranded motorists. Two teams each have been sent to operate out Colby, Dighton, Dodge City, Lakin, Liberal, Norton, and Tribune and will begin their patrols as soon as possible.
There are currently more than 35,000 customers without electrical power in the state; 25,000 of those are in the western half of the state. Current weather conditions are preventing repair crews from restoring power.