As a winter storm brings blizzard-like conditions to Kansas and the Midwest, the state has closed part of I-70 and other roads in the western region.
“Do not attempt to travel west today,” the Kansas Department of Transportation tweeted just before 10:30 a.m. Thursday. That “travel alert” was posted after both directions of I-70 were closed between Colby and WaKeeney — about a 90 mile stretch of Interstate.
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Since then, another 50 miles of I-70, from Goodland to Hays, has been closed.
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In addition to that closure, several other western Kansas roads are “completely snow covered or even closed,” KDOT tweeted. At 11:15 a.m. Thursday, nearly all roads in western Kansas counties were experiencing winter weather and blizzard warnings, according to KanDrive.
“This storm is packing a punch as it moves through,” KDOT tweeted.
Gov. Jeff Colyer declared a State of Disaster Emergency prior to the storm, the Wichita Eagle previously reported. Some parts of western Kansas could get up to a foot of snow.
The blizzard warning in western Kansas is in effect through noon Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. “A Blizzard Warning means strong winds and falling or blowing snow will produce whiteout conditions at times…with travel becoming difficult or impossible.”
While that warning ends Thursday afternoon, a winter storm warning is in effect through 6 p.m. Thursday, NWS said in a hazardous weather outlook. The region can then expect negative wind chill temperatures through Sunday.
Public Information Officer Tod Hileman with Kansas Highway Patrol said troopers have responded to several crashes between Hays and Colby on I-70. As of 11 a.m., two of those crashes involved a “serious injury.”
UPS said it will not be picking up dropping off packages in storm-affected areas of Kansas on Thursday.
This “Post-Christmas Storm” is affecting several states in the region, according to the National Weather Service. The storm system, named Winter Storm Eboni, reaches from western Kansas toward upper Michigan and Minnesota, The Weather Channel reported.
“Winter Storm Eboni will continue to bring wind-driven snow to the Plains and upper Midwest on Thursday, creating localized blizzard conditions in parts of those regions,” according to The Weather Channel. “Eboni will also spread snow and ice across portions of upstate New York and New England by Friday morning.”