Gov. Sam Brownback signed a State of Disaster Emergency Proclamation May 3 for 29 Kansas counties affected by a severe winter storm, heavy rain and flooding April 28 and continuing.
Counties named in the declaration are Bourbon, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Crawford, Decatur, Finney, Gove, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Labette, Lane, Logan, Marshall, Morton, Neosho, Norton, Rawlins, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Wallace, and Wichita. This includes several counties named in a verbal declaration issued April 29.
The winter storm generated blizzard-like conditions with strong winds and heavy snowfall in the western third of the state, averaging from one to 14 inches. The highest accumulations ranged from 24 to 30 inches with drifts up to 10 feet. All main highways in the western third of the state were closed and other travel was nearly impossible. The storm brought down numerous power lines and caused other utility damages, leaving thousands of Kansans without power.
In addition to the winter storm, heavy rain caused flooding and flash flooding in the eastern portion of the state. A widespread area received approximately two to four inches of rainfall, causing flooding in many rural areas that damaged homes and made travel difficult.
Joint federal and state Preliminary Damage Assessments are expected to begin this week to determine if there are sufficient damages to warrant a request for a federal disaster declaration.