By LARRY PHILLIPS
• Daily Leader Winter is finally here. Mother nature shocked local residents this morning with gusty winds and blowing snow. The problem, however, was that during the night when the storm hit, there was rain first, and that has placed a slick base below the snow.
Shortly before 7 this morning, a van had slid off U.S. Highway 54 east of town and crashed into the chain-link fence at Diesel Engines.
At 7:13, a deputy called dispatch to say, “Highway 54 is totally iced over.”
The Liberal Police Department dispatch was continuously deluged with emergency calls: A car had flipped over on its top 10 miles north of town on U.S. Highway 83. The report said the woman was not injured, but was trapped in the vehicle. Another call said seven to 11 oil field trucks were pulled over on Hwy. 83 at Salley Road posing a passing problem. The trucks were awaiting daylight for safety reasons. There were several 10-41 calls requesting wreckers. A report came in about a SUV turned over on its top after missing a curve. One woman called for help saying she was stuck on the Hwy. 83 overpass in the northbound lane because she couldn’t climb the incline due to ice.
Dispatch told one officer that city crews had hit the streets at midnight trying to stay up with clearing and sanding.
There was a severe weather alert earlier, but was supposed to be lifted around 10 a.m. As of press time, the alert was still in effect. As of midnight, an inch of snow accumulation had been officially recorded.