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Morning Sun
  • Winter mix puts chill on county

  • Lingering hazards, particularly for drivers, may persist following the week’s winter storm, but the initial impact has been minimal.



    A sleet-snow mix began in the early morning hours Thursday and quickly accumulated across Crawford County, but the area is alright, compared with much of Kansas.

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  • Lingering hazards, particularly for drivers, may persist following the week’s winter storm, but the initial impact has been minimal.
    A sleet-snow mix began in the early morning hours Thursday and quickly accumulated across Crawford County, but the area is alright, compared with much of Kansas.
    “We’re in good shape compared to some of them,” said Eldon Bedene, Crawford County’s emergency manager. “I don’t know what’s going to happen later this afternoon if we get snow, but we’re lucky we didn’t get the rain and then freeze.”
    All local school districts canceled classes for Friday, while Pittsburg State announced plans to attempt to reopen.
    The ongoing winter storm situation remained uncertain, and Bedene said contacts were put into place in the event weather conditions changed for the worse.
    “We did make contact with the Red Cross,” he said. “If we lose power, they would set up shelters first.”
    He also said power companies were on alert in the event ice or wind became a problem.
    “When these storms come in, we make contacts with all the electric companies,” he said. “We make sure they’re aware of what’s coming on and make sure we have good phone numbers so if something does happen we can get ahold of them.”
    He said the weather service provides briefings throughout events, and that the area wasn’t nearly in the same shape as parts of the state farther north or west, where the wait for a wrecker was as long as three or four hours.
    “When it happens and you’re off the road sitting there, hopefully you have a tank of gas, but it isn’t going to take very long until you start getting cold.”
    Sheriff Dan Peak said drivers did well heeding precautions and staying home.
    “It’s been a fairly mild morning and afternoon for us,” he said in the early afternoon. “We, at this point, have worked two slide-offs and two non-injury accidents.”
    He said that totals four weather-related accidents and is an indicator that drivers were staying home or driving slowly and carefully.
    That may, in part, be due to the ice coating cars and windshields throughout the area.
    Alicia Berthot, of Pittsburg, said the doctor she works for closed up shop because of the weather, and that she began working today to get her car cleared for tomorrow.
    “I’ve been trying to scrape my windows since 7:45 a.m.,” Berthot said close to noon. “This is my third attempt. It’s been ridiculous. It’s just a ridiculous mess. My first attempt was just to get into the car, and that took 30 minutes. That was the hardest part.”
    Page 2 of 2 - She said she wasn’t planning on going anywhere, and that taking on the difficult task on a day off might help later.
    “I’m staying in,” Berthot said. “I might as well clean my car off in case we get more later. We’ll work tomorrow, so I might as well make my job a little easier for the morning.”
    More was forecasted through the evening hours on Thursday, and hazards may continue through Friday.
    “The weather service is indicating that we have the potential for more snow,” Peak said. “In our opinion, if it’s a solid form of precipitation, that’s better for us and for the people out on the roads.”
    “We do have one more round of snow coming in,” agreed Megan Terry, National Weather Service meteorologist and hydrologist.
    A band of snow was expected to produce up to another inch, and Terry said the weather should calm down after that, but that cold temperatures would persist.
    Both Peak and Terry said black ice remains a concern.
    “One thing we are concerned about is the temperatures tonight. They’re supposed to be well below freezing. He added that any rain or drizzle could be hazardous.
    “If people choose to get out and drive, they need to make sure that they drive carefully and stay aware of any potential road hazards,” he added.
    Terry said cold temperatures and even colder wind chills will be factors through the early part of the weekend.
    “We should see some clearing, but the winds are going to be coming from the north, so it will be cool,” she said.
    Additional reporting by Andrew Nash.

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