Kansas storm chaser recounts first blizzard chasing experience
GRAINFIELD, Kan. (KAKE)- The winter weather in western Kansas was difficult for people to get through Monday, and resulted in many being stranded. One local storm chaser spoke with KAKE Tuesday about his first blizzard experience and the challenges it had.
State troopers were busy Monday, ushering people off the highways.
“And they were having them actually abandon their cars on an off-ramp and at a gas station right by a gas station by the off-ramp and they were taking them from that gas station and the off-ramp to the high school,” said Hunter Hurley, storm chaser.
Hunter Hurley has been storm chasing for two years, but he has never seen a blizzard like Kansas had on Monday before.
“The magnitude of how intense the blizzard was and traversing through the roads- it was pretty crazy to see,” said Hurley.
Wheatland High School was turned into an emergency shelter that held more than 50 cots for people who had nowhere to turn. The school was able to keep heat and electricity on all night when surrounding towns were without power.
“A lot of them, I know, were scared, they were fearful of what was going to happen to their vehicles. A lot of them actually got into crashes from what I heard,” said Hurley.
Hurley witnessed firsthand the bad weather conditions, even sliding a bit himself, but he tells KAKE the evening at the high school provided hope and community in a time of darkness.
“It was very heartwarming to see everybody come together and they’re all peaceful and everything. It was just pretty awesome to see everyone, everyone was strangers in there and they were all talking and communicating and sharing their stories of the blizzard,” said Hurley.
Wheatland High told KAKE local businesses and the fire department provided stranded folks dinner Monday and lunch Tuesday, but that was not the end of Hurley's storm chasing.
“I was driving down the road and I actually witnessed a woman high-center her car on a snowbank and a shop owner and I had to dig her out,” said Hurley.
Locals told him this was the worst blizzard they have seen in years.
“As for the rest of it, I think KS State Troopers and the entire emergency management team did a great job of keeping roads closed and ushering people off the highway into safer spaces,” said Hurley.