Bitter cold, slick streets continue Friday

WICHITA, Kan. Update, 10 p.m.: You'll still need to drive carefully Friday morning as roads refreeze Thursday night. Main roads are dry, but navigating neighborhood streets could be tricky with overnight temperatures plummeting.

Friday morning begins with sub-zero wind chills. In Wichita, it will feel like 3-degrees below zero by 7 a.m., as many students across the area make their ways back to school. It will feel like nine-below in Salina and five-below in Great Bend, Hutchinson and Newton.

The wind won't be nearly as strong as it was Thursday morning, but when temperatures dip into single digits, it doesn't take much to make a miserable windchill.

Thursday's snowfall totals brought a range from a trace in the Wichita area up to about five inches in Culver in Saline County. Salina saw about three inches, as did Ness City and Cimarron out west.

Friday brings another chance for flurries, but not much is expected in the way of accumulation.


Update, 6 p.m.:

Cars on the side of the road was a common site across Kansas Thursday morning and afternoon. The Emergency Accident Reporting Plan remains in effect in Wichita, meaning if you're involved in a non-injury accident, there's no need to call 911.

If the crash involves another vehicle, exchange information with the other driver and fill out an accident form at the nearest police substation.

Icy conditions have city workers putting in 12-hour shifts. Road treatment began Wednesday night, but the city says rain washed away much of the solution.

As a result, there were spots where it may not have felt like the road was treated. Long shifts from public works employees sought to make the evening commute safer.

"Based off the road conditions, we usually have settings we go off of to treat them all the way through," explains Wichita Public Works employee Chris Foulk. "Once we get that taken care of, then we maintain the route and take care of any trouble spots."

In a ridealong Thursday, Foulk showed Eyewitness News how his truck dumps a salt-sand mixture onto the roads.

The City of Wichita says drivers should see an improvement on the streets as the night goes on, but should remember that the city does not treat neighborhood streets.


11:25 a.m.

The City of Wichita's Public Works & Utilities officials provided an update on the City’s winter snow response during a Thursday morning news briefing at City Hall, 455 N. Main.

Public Works crews are working 12-hour shifts and will continue to run the full deployment of 60 snow plows to treat roads with salt and sand. Crews will focus on arterial roads, bridges and overpasses and then begin to monitor roads for refreezing. Neighborhood roads will remain icy. Motorists are encouraged to drive with caution.

Rain and sleet that occurred overnight and in the early morning hours have iced many Wichita streets. Crews began treating roads with salt and sand around midnight. Crews discontinued when heavy rain began washing the treatment off roadways and resumed treating the roads again at 4 a.m.

"The brine washes away fairly easily, so what we are using is a 50 percent mix of sand and salt,"said Alan King, the Director of Public Works and Utilities. "It has more staying power, and it provides for the traction, so once the slick conditions exist you want to get something that provides some traction."

Citizens are urged to allow plenty of time for trips and keep a safe following distance. With low temperatures in the forecast, refreezing will likely occur late evening.

City worker, Chris Foulk, said the roads are already getting better.

"The roads have greatly improved, greatly," said Foulk. "This morning they were a little difficult, but we worked on the really hard and got them taken care of."

The Wichita Police Department’s Emergency Accident Reporting Plan (EARP) is in effect. The plan allows motorists who are involved in a non-injury accident to move their vehicles, exchange information with the other driver involved and report the accident within 24 hours of occurrence. If there is an injury or alcohol use is suspected, call 911 and officers will respond to the accident.


4:50 a.m.

The cold front is expected to smack Wichita just before the morning rush hour.

Eyewitness New is live driving around the area to see how those roads are for you.

The temps in the metro area are quickly dropping here. Before we start seeing that snowy mixture, it's important to remember that bridges will freeze first.

There are plows and sand trucks out pre-treating the roads but as always it's best to use caution when starting your morning commute.

Salina is expected to be one of the cities that is most impacted by Winter weather today.

The roads are okay but if you live in the area you may experience freezing rain that is going to turn to snow soon.

Another factor here is wind. The 30 MPH winds could be an issue later once the snow arrives and starts to blow.


A Storm Team 12 Weather Alert Day for the first half of the day Thursday comes with the season's first accumulated snowfall.

The expected snowfall totals range from a trace to a few inches with central and northern Kansas expected to receive the most accumulation.

The blowing snow and steep drop in temperatures could make traveling tricky in spots and several school districts in central and northern Kansas have delayed or canceled classes for Thursday.

You can find the full list of delays and closings here:

Highs for Thursday will be in the 20s and 30s, but wind chills will make it feel colder than that. In the Wichita area, overnight rain showers are expected to change to snow near sunrise.

Conditions in northwest Kansas were deteriorating fast Wednesday night as signs on Interstate 70 urge drivers to use caution.

Road conditions could really get slick Thursday, especially during the morning commute. Keep up with highway conditions across Kansas here:

Locally you can keep an eye on Wichita's traffic conditions here:

You can share your winter weather photos with us by submitting them through our website here: SUBMIT YOUR PHOTOS

Friday brings a chance for more snow flurries to northern Kansas, but accumulation is not expected.

To follow the up-to-the-second forecast where you live, download the Storm Team 12 Weather app, available on Android and Apple devices.