Archive for Thursday, December 5, 2002

Winter weather blasts Midwest

Schools close in southeast Kansas

December 5, 2002


— Wintry weather closed schools across much of southern Kansas on Wednesday and challenged motorists who were getting reacquainted with ice and snow.

Snowfall in the season's first significant storm was heaviest in southeastern counties close to the Oklahoma border, with up to 7 inches expected to accumulate by Wednesday night.

The storm blasted Tuesday into southwestern Kansas from Oklahoma, dropping at least 3 inches of snow in Liberal before slowly tapering off in western sections and spreading into east-central and southeastern Kansas.

Troopers with the Kansas Highway Patrol reported few injury-causing accidents on the Kansas Turnpike, a dispatcher said.

But police and sheriff's departments were kept busy with fender-benders and vehicles that slid into ditches.

In Cowley County, Sheriff's Capt. Don Read said all roads were icy and snow-packed by midmorning, with snow still falling "rather hard." Read said schools were closed in Winfield and Arkansas City.

"You don't want buses out on those roads," Read said.

An accident in northern Cowley County late Tuesday sent one person to the hospital, but traffic problems otherwise consisted mostly of people stranded in vehicles that slid off roads, Read said.

"We usually work a lot of accidents on the first storm of the season because it's the first snow or the first ice, and people aren't accustomed to driving on it since last year," he said.

Schools were closed as well throughout Labette and Neosho counties, where ice and a few inches of snow coated roads by late morning with more falling.

But an annual holiday parade will take place today in Parsons as scheduled, with the snow adding to the seasonal atmosphere.

The men's and women's basketball teams at Fort Hays State University had rescheduled their games against Oklahoma schools from Tuesday night to Wednesday " then rescheduled them again Wednesday morning to dates in January and February. While northwest Kansas was free of snow, the visiting opponents were stuck at home by the weather.

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