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Morning Sun
  • BE PREPARED: Spring storm, cold temps form hazardous mix

  • Spring thunderstorms don’t often combine with winter airmasses, but that is exactly what was forecasted through the overnight hours Wednesday into Thursday.



    The result, according to the National Weather Service could be a combined total of 1 to 3 inches of snow and/or sleet, with a potential layer of ice on top.

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  • Spring thunderstorms don’t often combine with winter airmasses, but that is exactly what was forecasted through the overnight hours Wednesday into Thursday.
    The result, according to the National Weather Service could be a combined total of 1 to 3 inches of snow and/or sleet, with a potential layer of ice on top.
    Meteorologist Gene Hatch said the crucial hours will be between the 5 a.m. and noon hours Thursday, during which projections indicate warm air may move over the cold air near the surface and potentially change the precipitation from snow or sleet to freezing rain.
    “This is not what we normally see as a typical winter system that moves across the area,” Hatch said.
    He said the extremely strong winds coming off the Gulf of Mexico are pumping warm, wet air into the system, which likely will mean thunderstorms within the system.
    “It may not be widespread and it may only be one or two rumbles, but there may be thunderstorms.”
    The rain will fall through the colder airmass, and forecasts predict the potential of a quarter of an inch of ice in the Pittsburg area.
    Additionally, the storm will be accompanied by very strong, southerly winds with gusts up to 35 miles per hour.
    Hatch said the combination of sleet or ice freezing on lines and trees and the wind gusts could cause some power outages.
    In a worst-case scenario, if the warmer air is stronger than anticipated and pushes the system further north, the entire system could turn into precipitation.
    Area agencies, schools and businesses are preparing for whatever the system may bring.
    USD 250
    School officials will hit the roads early when considering a snow day.
    Zach Fletcher, public relations officer, said officials will drive the roads in personal vehicles at 4 a.m. to see how the vehicles handle, and will make a call to staff by 5:30 a.m. and to students and media outlets by 6 a.m.
    “There is no set criteria to closing school for a snow day,” Fletcher said. “We just drive and decide if it is safe or not.”
    Pittsburg State
    Associate Vice President Steve Erwin said safety will come first.
    “Historically, there would have been a time when universities were very persistent about not closing,” he said. “In recent years we’ve been much more sensitive to the dangers of traveling to and from campus.”
    Additionally, clearing away snow and ice becomes more difficult with a full campus.
    Meanwhile, crews are preparing.
    Tom Amershek, director of the physical plant, said the campus is ready.
    “We have all of our equipment checked out,” he said, adding that they have full gas tanks, blades and other equipment to be ready.
    Page 2 of 2 - Contractors are lined up for sidewalks and parking lots as well.
    “We’re watching the weather all evening,” Amershek said. “Ice really is the worst thing you could deal with. When it becomes unsafe for traveling, we’ll make that decision.”
    Campus police and night custodians will be watching the weather, and a decision regarding Thursday’s operations will be announced by 6 a.m.
    Law Enforcement
    The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department is preparing its deputies to be safe as they set out in a possible storm.
    “We are doing our best to get all of our deputies into four-wheel drive vehicles,” Sheriff Dan Peak said. “When severe winter weather comes around, we make sure each deputy is equipped with one of those vehicles should the need arise.”
    He advised that if the National Weather Service forecast is correct people should stay home if possible.“The best rule is always if you don’t have to be out in it, don’t be,” Peak said. “Otherwise, make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
    He also advised driving slowly and carrying winter kits, including blankets, in vehicles.

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