Weather may hamper New Year’s celebrations

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Updated at 5:38 p.m. Dec. 31, 2020, to note the issuance of a winter storm warning.

People who are planning to celebrate the new year tonight may be impacted by the weather.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Leavenworth County. The warning is scheduled to be in effect from midnight to 8 p.m. Friday.

Chuck Magaha, director of Leavenworth County Emergency Management, said a storm is expected to move into the area between midnight and 1 a.m. He said the area could receive up to 0.25 of an inch of freezing rain and two to four inches of snow.

Wind also could be an issue with sustained winds of 10-15 mph and gusts between 25-30 mph.

“Plan your travel accordingly,” Magaha said.

He recommends people avoid going out unless they have to.

Maj. Dan Nicodemus, deputy chief of the Leavenworth Police Department, said the COVID-19 pandemic also may decrease the number of people who go out celebrating tonight.

For the people who do go out celebrating, Nicodemus recommends the use of a designated driver.

“There’s just zero reason to get behind the wheel if you’ve had anything to drink,” he said.

He said New Year’s celebrants should be able to find designated drivers among friends or use a paid car service.

Leavenworth County Undersheriff Jim Sherley said drinking will slow a driver’s reaction time, making stopping on surfaces slick with rain or snow even more difficult. He said this makes it even more important to pass the keys to a sober driver.

Sherley said it is important even for sober drivers to avoid distractions because they may be sharing the road tonight with people whose reaction times are slowed because of alcohol.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR