TOPEKA State officials said the snowstorm that dropped more than a foot of snow in some areas of Kansas could have been "considerably worse," praising the public and emergency management response while warning residents Thursday that cold temperatures still pose a threat.
The storm caused widespread school and government closings starting Tuesday, continuing Thursday in some parts of Kansas. Gov. Sam Brownback said the next concern would be frigid temperatures that would drop wind chills 5 to 10 degrees below zero on Friday.
"We knew the storm was coming, so we were ready to respond," Brownback said. "Our priority is to make sure that we can keep people safe. It's not over."
He also said the National Weather Service says two smaller disturbances could bring additional precipitation to Kansas on Friday and early next week.
Angee Morgan, deputy director of the state's emergency management division, said the emergency operations center had returned to normal staffing.
"It could have been considerably worse," she said. "Emergency management is a system and the public has a big part in that."
The Kansas National Guard had nine teams on standby during the storm to help stranded motorists and transport medical and emergency staff, though Morgan said no assistance was needed. No shelters were opened during the storm.
Brownback said residents heeded warnings to prepare for the storm and to stay off the roads earlier this week to allow crews to clear the way.
Three people died in traffic accidents during the storm. The Kansas Highway Patrol says troopers worked 11 injury accidents and 129 property-damage accidents statewide. Highway Patrol Maj. John Eickhorn said conditions were so bad Tuesday that some patrol vehicles had to be rescued from snow drifts.
Eickhorn said the patrol worked 129 accidents involving property damage only.
The storm prompted Brownback to close state offices in Shawnee County on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Legislature also canceled all of its meetings for those two days.
The governor said it was too soon to know the economic impact of the storm on the state, but he was seeking information.