As the minutes clicked away this morning, the snowfall picked up. The National Weather Service out of Dodge City reports the Liberal area is facing a 50 percent chance of snow today, mainly before 5 p.m. Conditions are to be cloudy with a high near 20 degrees. Wind chill values, the NWS noted, could be as low as 3 degrees. Wind will be out of the northwest and reach gusts of 14 to 23 miles per hour. NWS reports the Liberal area will see snow accumulation of less than one-half inch. L&T photo/Jessica Crawford
Beware of winter hazards
• Special to the Leader & Times
With today’s four-wheel drive vehicles and cell phone technology, travel may seem safe. But motorists can easily find themselves in dangerous situations during the winter.
For example, during a trip across the state, travelers can encounter a blinding snowstorm that makes roads impassible, and many decide to pull over and wait out the storm. Or what can be done when a vehicle goes off the road? Assembling a kit of some basic items may help people survive hazardous winter travel.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has made recommendations on things to include in a winter travel kit. The kit should contain:
o Blanket/sleeping bag;
o Windshield scraper;
o Battery-powered radio;
o Flashlight (and extra batteries);
o Snack food (candy bars, raisins, granola bars);
o Extra warm clothes, such as insulated coveralls, jacket, hat, gloves, socks and boots;
o Tow chain or rope;
o Tire chains;
o Bag of road salt or sand or non-skid mats (for traction, if stuck);
o Fluorescent distress flag (a bright bandanna tied to an antenna will work);
o Jumper/booster cables;
o Road maps;
o Emergency flares or reflectors;
o Cellular telephone or two-way radio, if available;
o First aid kit;
o Two or more day supply of medications; and
o Candle, coffee can and matches (stored in waterproof container.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, about 70 percent of automobile accidents resulting in death are ice- or snow-related. Another 25 percent of winter deaths can be attributed to people being caught out in a storm.
The National Weather Service reports that many people die each year when they attempt to leave their vehicle during a storm to walk to safety. Instead, stranded drivers should stay with the car, tie a piece of cloth to the car’s antenna and keep the car running while using the heater 10 minutes out of each hour.
People should remember to keep their interior lights on while the engine is running and to avoid hypothermia by constantly moving their arms and legs.