The Latest: Blizzard conditions cause numerous closures in western Kansas

February 23, 2019 - 10:17 am
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UPDATE - 3:15 p.m.

Kansas transportation officials have closed Interstate 70 from Salina in east-central Kansas to the Colorado border as a blizzard moves through the state.

Officials earlier had closed a 25-mile segment from Hayes to Russell as heavy snow and howling winds covered the roadway and led to multiple crashes. The majority of the interstate in Kansas was later closed as blizzard conditions made driving too dangerous. Many other roads and highways in the state also were closed, and officials urged people to stay inside.

Businesses and services also closed as the blizzard swept northeastward into Nebraska and Iowa later in the day Saturday. Dozens of churches across Kansas canceled Sunday services.

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Heavy snow and high winds are battering western Kansas as a blizzard makes its way through the Great Plains.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, an emergency manager near Ulysses in southwest Kansas reported blizzard conditions with only 50 to 100 yards of visibility.  At 10:37 a.m., a report of 10 inches of snow was reported from near Plymell, in southwest Kansas in Finney County.  Pierceville and Scott City in western Kansas have already seen 5 inches of snow. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for much of central and western Kansas, as well as for eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, that will remain in effect until Sunday.

The weather service says winds gusting to nearly 60 mph will cause whiteout conditions in those areas and make driving and other travel extremely dangerous. Officials also fear high winds could cause tree damage and lead to power outages as temperatures drop below freezing.

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