Snowfall second-highest one-day February total

By Corene Brisendine

Tuesday’s storm dropped 11.2 inches of snow on Manhattan, the second-highest February snowfall in one day for the city.

The record for snowfall in one day for February was set at 18 inches on Feb. 27, 1900.

State climatologist Mary Knapp said that a total of 13 inches of snow accumulated from the winter storm, named Nika, which covered much of the Midwest.

Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday declared a state of disaster emergency for all of Kansas in response to Nika moving through the state. That authorized state entities to assist communities affected by the storm.

The Kansas National Guard sent out teams to transport emergency and medical personnel and assist stranded motorists. Officials anticipated continuing operations through 10 a.m. Wednesday.

“We still have some of the most difficult conditions ahead of us as the snowfall is followed by heavy winds and bitterly cold temperatures,” Brownback said in a press release. “Travel will remain treacherous and temperatures will be dangerously cold.  So, please, stay safe and if you don’t have to travel, stay home.”

On Wednesday, most area schools and businesses remained closed because of predicted near-record cold temperatures and wind chills well below zero. K-State saw its second snow day in a row, and ATA Bus service was down for the day.

Knapp said that her office doesn’t track wind chills at the weather data library at K-State, but minus 17 degrees is extremely dangerous because it increases the risk of hypothermia.

She said that the office does track actual temperatures, and Wednesday’s forecasted high at 9 degrees would be a record. If the high temperature falls even one degree short of the forecasted high, it will set a new low record high for the day. If it reaches 9 degrees, it will tie the record.

Knapp said the total snowfall for February is 17.1 inches, and the month has just started. That total puts February 2014 in the No. 7 spot for most snow in February — if no more snow falls for the remainder of the month.

The record for most snow in February was 24.8 inches, set in 1900 . All that snow made city workers run plows day and night to keep roads passable.

City engineer Rob Ott said they started plowing 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, and all 15 plows were still operating on Wednesday.

He said that on Tuesday, the crews struggled to keep the main streets and thoroughfares open. Drifting snow created challenges along Amherst Drive and Miller Parkway. Once it stopped snowing, crews were able to turn their attention to residential streets overnight.

Ott said that they planned to finish plowing residential streets by noon. Then, they will go back over all the streets with salt and sand.

He said that would take crews all day Wednesday and overnight into Thursday morning to finish.

“The primaries aren’t as perfect as we like them, but they are passable,” he said.

Ott said that once the crews finish treating and plowing all the roads, they will focus on keeping roads clear of ice and drifting, but that will be on an as needed basis.

Airport director Peter Van Kuren said that the sun was shining Wednesday morning, and the runways were clear, but the parking lot was another matter.

He said that crews were working hard to clear the lots on Wednesday.

Van Kuren said that even though all afternoon and evening flights at Manhattan Regional Area Airport were cancelled on Tuesday, the weather should not affect any flights for Wednesday.

“I don’t see any weather locally impacting operations,” he said. “Low temperatures won’t impact flights. So, as far as I know, all flights are on schedule.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | The Manhattan Mercury, 318 North 5th Street, Manhattan, Kansas, 66502 | Copyright 2017