More than a foot of snow, being whipped around by gusty winds, have made traveling treacherous throughout Franklin County, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office reported Thursday morning.
The sheriff’s office reported that its officers, along with Kansas Highway Patrol troopers, had worked more than 70 incidents of motorists sliding off the road Thursday morning. The sheriff’s office said anyone who does not need to travel should stay home.
The snow in most places — including highways, rural roads and many city streets — is an estimated 12 to 18 inches deep, the sheriff’s office said in a news release late Thursday morning.
“Travel in two-wheel vehicles is almost impossible, and many four-wheel drive vehicles are also getting stuck,” the sheriff’s office said. “Some state highway vehicles plowing have also gotten stuck on I-35. Wreckers are extremely busy and may not be immediately available if you get stuck.”
Sheriff’s officers are patrolling rural areas in four-wheel drive vehicles and the department’s Humvee.
“If you get stuck, be prepared to stay with your vehicle until help can arrive,” the sheriff’s office advised Thursday. “It may take up to a couple hours for emergency personnel to reach you if you are stranded.”
The sheriff’s office also is opening the old juvenile detention area next to the sheriff’s office and jail, 305 S. Main St., Ottawa, for people who might be stranded, according to the news release.
The City of Ottawa also issued an ordinance at 8 a.m. Thursday restricting parking on arterial streets, in school zones and around Ransom Memorial Hospital, 1301 S. Main St., Ottawa, until snow removal is completed, according to the city’s public works department. These locations throughout Ottawa are marked with red and white “Snow Route” signs.
Several area school districts, including West Franklin and Wellsville, have canceled school Friday.