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Damage assessment begins following powerful snowstorm in W. Kan.

Published: Apr. 30, 2017 at 10:37 AM CDT
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A rare April snowstorm slammed western Kansas, Sunday impacting several communities with power outages road closings and school closings for Monday. You can recap developments as the storm intensified Sunday

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Monday updates:

(UPDATE 10 p.m.)

A lot of the snow continues to melt in western Kansas, but it continues to leave its mark. Downed trees and some buildings were heavily damaged because the weight of the snow was just too much.

In Garden City, there were three structures we know of that collapsed under the weight of the snow. This included a jewelry store awning, part of the roof above gas pumps at a neighborhood Walmart and a partial roof collapse to a clinic.

In southwest Kansas, we got a glimpse of how the storm impacted ranches. One rancher near Elkhart says some cattle

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(UPDATE 5:30 p.m.)

Wheatland Electric has been able to restore power to several western Kansas communities, but some rural areas are still without power as crews struggle to overcome slushy roads to get to where repairs are needed.

Wheatland Electric Communications Director Shawn Powelson says the company has been able to make progress on restoring power, thanks to the help of locals.

"They've got road graters, bulldozers, farmers in tractors literally pulling them to where they need to work on the lines to make repairs," Powelson says.

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(UPDATE 4:40 p.m.)

A news release from the Kansas National Guard updates efforts from the Kansas Division of Emergency Management as damage assessment begins in western Kansas. Full release below:

As Kansans in the western third of the state begin to dig out from under heavy snow, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management will work with counties to determine the extent of damage to public infrastructure and utilities. KDEM plans to scale back 24-hour operations this evening at 7 p.m. and return to its regular schedule on Tuesday. A reduced staff will remain in the State Emergency Operations Center overnight to receive calls from counties. As many as an estimated 42,000 customers lost power in Western Kansas due to heavy snow and high winds Saturday night through Sunday. Power crews are beginning to restore power, but are hampered by deep snow and blocked roads. No additional snow is in the near forecast for Western Kansas with warmer temperatures starting to melt the snow. In the meantime, KDEM personnel will be keeping an eye on the weather in Southeast Kansas and the possibility of more rainfall that could result in flooding. Kansans are urged to avoid flooded areas and not attempt to drive or wade through moving water. Even 18 inches of water is sufficient to float a car or knock a person off their feet and sweep them away.

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(UPDATES 4:25 p.m.)

Heavy snow in Garden City caused a partial collapse of the roof to the Women's Clinic. This forced the clinic to close indefinitely.

"Administration is actively working on securing an alternate location to hold clinic until repairs can be made to the building," the clinic says. "Staff should report to Siena Administration for their regular-scheduled shifts tomorrow, May 2."

The clinic says patients are being notified.

"The Women’s Clinic is not seeing patients today and tomorrow, but administration is hopeful to open on Wednesday in the newly renovated FastTrack area near the north entrance of the hospital," the clinic says. "In turn, Infusion Services is being relocated to the Surgery Center for this interim period. This adjustment will maintain operations and allow the Women’s Clinic to resume care immediately, and for enough time to select and equip an alternate, temporary location which will be used until the existing Women’s Clinic is renovated, or a new Women’s Clinic is established."

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(UPDATE 3:40 p.m.) The Garden City Police Department says Public Works will be disposing of tree limbs and debris brought down by the recent snowstorm. Businesses are being cleaned up first Monday through Friday this week, followed by residential cleanup next week, May 8-12.

The city says small tree limbs, no longer than four feet in length and two inches in diameter, can be disposed of in the city dumpster. Large tree limbs and branches brought down by the storm may be cut and stacked beside the curb of a residence.

"City crews cannot pick up branches and debris placed in the alleys, and under no circumstances should any type of storm debris be piled or pushed into the street," Garden City Police say.

Residents in need of hiring help to remove downed trees or limbs are advised to use a licensed contractor from the following list;

DV Enterprises LLC 620-626-4640

Green Solutions Tree Trimming 620-424-4048

Pro-Cut Tree Service 620-271-0478

Raymond Greer 620-481-0842

Richard’s Lawn and Tree Service 620-640-4405

Rob Preston 620-275-1634

Swank Landscaping & Sprinklers 620-276-6651

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(UPDATE 3:10 p.m.) Wheatland Electric says there are about 5,000 meters still without power, but the company hopes to reduce that number to about 2,500 in the next couple hours. Power has been restored in Tribune where earlier, the town's grocery store took transactions using pen and paper.

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(UPDATE 2:40 p.m.) Some good news from the Kansas Department of Transportation, which reports all roads that were previously closed in northwest Kansas because of the winter weather conditions and stranded vehicles, are back open. This includes U.S. 83 in Decatur County.

For up-to-date information on road closures and road conditions, call 511 in Kansas or 866-511-5368 outside the state. You can also check travel information on line at

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Even with roads open, KHP Trooper Tod Hileman says troopers out west are "getting overwhelmed with crashes."

"I, along with many other Hays troopers, are making the 100-mile trek to assist," he says. "Please slow down and be patient during this relatively small area of bad roads!"

Troopers out west are getting overwhelmed with crashes. I, along with many other Hays troopers, are making the 100 mile...

Posted by Trooper Tod KHP Hays, Kansas on Monday, May 1, 2017

The Deerfield school district, USD 216 and the Wichita County school district, USD 467, are closed Tuesday. Most school districts in western Kansas are expected to be back in session Tuesday.

The system that brought the record snowfall to western Kansas, also delivered heavy rainfall for parts of the state.

Rainfall amounts included 1.66 inches for Wichita, 1.26 inches for Salina, 3.15 inches for Dodge City, 1.95 inches for Garden City, .87 inches for Goodland and 2.72 inches for Hays.

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(UPDATE 1:00 pm) - Take a look at some of these snowfall totals from the National Weather Service:

Wallace (Wallace County): 24-28 inches with 8-10 foot snow drifts

Agnelus (Sheridan CountY): 16.5 inches

Tribune (Greely County): 15 inches

Sharon Springs (Wallace County): 15-16 inches

Oakley (Logan County): 14 inches

Quinter (Gove County): 10-12 inches

Selden (Sheridan County): 10-12 inches

Atwood (Rawlins County): 10 inches

Weskan (Wallace County): 8 inches

Morland (Graham County): 8 inches

Oberlin (Decatur County): 6 inches

Cheyenne Wells (Cheyenne County): 2.5 inches

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(UPDATE: 9 a.m.): Crews are working to clear away roadways in W. Kansas, but there's another problem this morning. Vehicles blocking the roadway.

KDot says these roads are closed as of 9:00 a.m.:

- U.S. 24 from Levant to Colby

- U.S. 36 from Oberlin to the K-383 junction

- U.S. 83 from the U.S. 24 junction to the Nebraska border

- K-9 from the K-123 junction to the Norton/Decatur county line

- K-25 from U.S. 40 to Colby

(UPDATE: 5 a.m. Monday):

Many school districts have called off class today. You'll find a complete, updated list here:

I-70 is back open. The road had been closed West of Salina to the Colorado line.

There are several streets still closed in Western Kansas, according to KDot, other roads are listed as partially or completely snow-packed.

Find updated road conditions here:

Power is still out for thousands of Kansans