A second major winter storm was bearing down on the central Plains Sunday, forcing cancellations and sending public works crews scrambling for salt and sand supplies less than a week after another system dumped a foot of snow on parts of the region.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard watch from Sunday evening through late Monday for much of western Kansas ahead of the strong storm system packing high winds and sleet that has been tracking across western Texas toward Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. The area was hit by a massive storm last week that dumped a foot of snow in some sections, closed airports and caused numerous accidents.
Parts of West Texas and the Texas Panhandle could see as much as 15 inches of snow starting Sunday night and through most of Monday. While snowfall is expected to taper off by Monday afternoon, wind gusts of up to 35 mph will remain a hazard, said Sarah Johnson, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service's Amarillo, Texas, office.
“It would have been nice if we'd had a few days to recover, to do some equipment rehab,” said Joe Pajor, deputy director of public works in Wichita, which saw its second-highest snowfall ever Thursday with 14.2 inches.
Other totals from the Thursday snowstorm included 18 inches in the southern Kansas town of Zenda; 17 inches in Hays, Kan.; about 13 inches in northeast Missouri and 12 inches of snow in parts of Kansas City.
Pajor said the new storm “looks worse than the last one” and that sand and salt supplies are low because of last week's record storm, as are the number of locations where snow can be transported off city streets. He said the plowing strategy for the new blizzard may have to involve plowing snow into the center of arterial streets, and cutting traffic to one lane each direction.
He also said streets won't be treated with the city's limited sand and salt supplies until the snow ends and plowing is under way.
The threat of the pending storm forced cancellations Sunday and Monday in Kansas and Missouri, including the championship basketball tournament for the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Association, which rescheduled the tournament for Tuesday in Park City, Kan.