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Preparations underway ahead of next round of winter weather

Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 4:24 PM CST
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The next round of winter weather on its way to Kansas brings threats of a wintry mix Thursday and with that, potential dangers on roads and highways and possible widespread power outages.

By Thursday evening, around 6-7 p.m., a rain/freezing rain/sleet mixture will be possible in central Kansas. That mix will continue into the early overnight hours, turning into rain by early Friday morning.

Wichita and Salina are two cities where crews are making preparations for the winter weather on the way.

"Yesterday, we noticed (the) National Weather Service started putting a forecast chance of both snow and freezing rain prior to when the rainfall will occur. So that prompted another part of our response, and that is to initiate a pretreatment of emergency routes," Wichita Public Works and Utilities Senior Manager Ben Nelson

Nelson says crews in Wichita began pretreating roads Tuesday morning, more than 48 hours out from the anticipated heaviest part of the storm.

"Particularly trouble spots where there are hills, intersections, curbs bridges that are more prone to icing over," he says. "And so we're initiating a pretreatment by applying a saline solution known as brine which helps in advance of the winter precipitation, helps keep snow and ice from forming on the roadway."

Ron Long, general manager of the Ace Hardware store on south Woodlawn says people should start preparing for the storm well before it hits.

"So many people wait till after it's hit and there's a lot of traffic, and everything else," Long says.

He says almost all ice-melt brands are safe to use on concrete, but ideally, after the ice is melted, you should go out and sweep it off.

"And then we've got lots of spray deicers, scrapers, things like that," Long says.

While having supplies helps, the key to avoiding problems with winter weather, he says, is to be careful and slow down on the roads.

Wichita Public Works says it will have its 60 trucks available to operate around the clock to treat the roads. Nelson says if you see the city's trucks, take extra caution, allowing extra distance between them and your vehicle and be prepared to slow down.

You can track locations of Wichita's road-treating trucks on the

If the storm causes a power outage at your home, you can

In Salina, city leaders also advise people to stay home if they can Thursday night to Friday morning.

"If we can always delay our travel, that makes a big difference because it allows (Kansas Department of Transportation) workers to get on the roadways and fix, salt and clean the roadways before we get on them," Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Gardner says.

As in the Wichita area, Gardner advises drivers everywhere to give extra space to trucks treating roads or plows working to clear them after a storm hits.

"We want them to be out there doing everything they can, so don't crowd the plow," Gardner says. "Give them room to work."

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