I-70 reopens in western Kansas after winter storm

Posted: Updated:
HAYS, Kan. (AP/KAKE) -

The Latest on a winter storm in Kansas (all times local):

5 p.m. 

Transportation officials have reopened Interstate 70 in western Kansas following Thursday's winter storm.

The Kansas Department of Transportation said in an email at around 4 p.m. that the major east-west route from Hays to Colorado is now open in both directions. The agency closed the route because of poor visibility and wrecks as a winter storm hits.

Drivers were still urged to use caution, as portions of the highway are still partially or completely covered in snow.

Check road conditions across the state at KanDrive.org

2:34 p.m.

A winter storm is closing roads and knocking out power across parts of central and western Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Transportation said Thursday on Twitter that Interstate 70 was closed between Goodland and Hays.

I-70 was completely snow covered west of Hays. Trooper Tod Hileman said the Kansas Highway Patrol was working several crashes, including two involving serious injuries, on I-70 between Hays and Colby.

Several other highways were closed, including stretches of U.S. 50, in the southwest corner of the state. Check road conditions across the state at KanDrive.org

The National Weather Service issued a combination of blizzard warnings, winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories in about three dozen counties. Forecasts call for ice and up to 2 to 12 inches of snow. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph also are possible, creating whiteout conditions.

Gov. Jeff Colyer has issued a state of disaster emergency declaration for in response to the winter storm.

About 2,500 Wheatland Electric Cooperative customers were without power in Finney, Gray, Hamilton, Harper, Kearny and Scott counties early Thursday morning.

The American Red Cross, in conjunction with emergency management in Finney and Thomas counties, has opened three warming centers in western Kansas.

  • Finney County 4-H Building, 409 Lake Avenue in Garden City
  • Holcomb City Hall, 200 North Lynch Street
  • Thomas County Emergency Management, 1200 Country Club Drive in Colby

KAKE will keep you up to date with our Interactive Radar and LIVE weather coverage. Get those features and more on the free First Alert Weather App. With the app you can track storms in your area, stream the latest forecast videos and live severe weather coverage, and set customized alerts to keep you and your family informed and safe.

UPS said Thursday on its website that there would be no pickups or deliveries in parts of western Kansas.

"We will work to ensure the safety of our employees while minimizing effects on service," UPS said in a statement. "Contingency plans are in place to help ensure that shipments arrive at their final destinations as quickly as conditions permit."

FedEx said it was operating normally. Customers can check the status of their shipments on fedex.com or by calling 1-800-Go-FedEx."