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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Officials prepare — again — for a winter storm

  • Another major storm was expected to hit northeast Kansas and western Missouri hard in the overnight hours Tuesday, dumping as much as another foot of snow on top of that leftover from last Thursday’s winter storm.
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  • Another major storm was expected to hit northeast Kansas and western Missouri hard in the overnight hours Tuesday, dumping as much as another foot of snow on top of that leftover from last Thursday’s winter storm.
    That outlook was enough to spur local governments and other entities to cancel or postpone Monday events and operations scheduled for Tuesday. Fort Leavenworth, in addition to the cities of Tonganoxie and Leavenworth, announced by the end of business Monday they would shut down operations for all but essential personnel the next day. The Lansing, Fort Leavenworth and Leavenworth Public Schools announced they were canceling classes Tuesday because of the forecast, with the county’s Catholic schools following suit. In addition to closing its City Hall to all but essential personnel, the city of Leavenworth’s trash collection for Tuesday was delayed for a day to allow the solid waste crews to contribute to the snow removal effort. Wednesday and Thursday’s collection routes were also postponed. The Riverfront Community Center was scheduled to be closed Tuesday because of the anticipated storm.
    The city of Lansing announced that its emergency snow ordinance was
    to take effect at 10 a.m. Monday.
    Though no snow had fallen yet, County Administrator Pat Hurley said the decision late Monday to close the courthouse to all but essential employees came as the forecast for snow remained relatively unchanged over the last two days and because the timing of the storm meant an early-morning announcement might not reach everyone in time.
    “It’s really important that we get it out early enough for the employees to know and the public to know,” about the conditions before leaving home, Hurley said.
    Rain and sleet were expected to change into snow some time after midnight Tuesday morning and continue through about 9 a.m. the same day. The timing is not the only difference between this and last week’s event, according to Andy Bailey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service — the snow will be falling at a slower pace, at 1 to 2 inches per hour compared to 3 to 4 inches an hour at the peak of the Feb. 21 event. Still, he said the NWS as of Monday morning was offering a “75 percent” prediction that between 6 and 10 inches of snow would fall in an area that included Leavenworth during that period. Under the much less likely “25 percent prediction,” parts of the Kansas City area could expect up to 27 inches. That much, Bailey said, is not that realistic of a possibility, but even the lesser official snowfall forecasts of 6 to 10 inches were admittely “conservative.”
    “We’re fairly confident that we’re going to see heavy snowfall with this one,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Ice and wind were also expected to be larger factors, Bailey said, with gusts up to 35 miles per hour likely to make driving dangerous during the storm. Asked if those reach the NWS threshold for a blizzard,
    Bailey said no, with a caveat.
    “We’re splitting hairs here — it’s going to be bad out there,” he said.
    Bailey and other officials discouraged all non-essential travel as a result
    of the road conditions.  
    With those warnings in mind, crews prepared again to activate snow operations overnight. Mike Spickelmier, director of public works for Leavenworth County, said the timing of the storm could actually work to his crew’s advantage, depending on when it hits.
    “We already have an overnight crew scheduled, so because it’s starting at say, 10, we can bring the overnight crew in a little earlier,” he said. “It’s still going to be a challenge, because of the intensity.”
    That timing will allow crews to make the rounds twice overnight.
    Mike McDonald, public works director for the city of Leavenworth, said Monday afternoon that his crews were already scheduled to go out that day to ensure that emergency snow routes were clear of previous accumulation before the new storm began.
    “We’re going to focusing our efforts on the emergency snow routes,” he said.
    With that, McDonald said the city was working to ask residents to move their vehicles off of emergency snow routes if possible in order to expedite the work of plowing crews moving through those areas.
    McDonald said those types of requests did work during last week’s snow storm.
    “I think the people, the residents, took it very, very seriously,” he said, along with warnings against travel.
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