Last weekend should be the last of the worst winter weather, forecasters predict.
Sumner County was safe from the brunt of nature’s chilly blast this weekend, though sleet and snow made the spring weekend feel more like a winter wonderland.
Starting Friday morning sleet blanketed the county, pelting ice and rain on roads and homes. Wellington School District No. 353 started dismissing their students early after the sleet started to increase.
At Wellington Middle School, students lined the hallways and walked back and forth through the entranceway doors, desperately trying to reach parents on their cell phones by talk and text. Though there were looks of concern on some student’s faces, others gleefully waited in the cold, happy to be have a few extra hours off.
Sleet continued throughout the day and night, with snow starting to fall in the early morning hours Saturday. The National Weather Service says Sumner County received anywhere from four inches to a foot of snow, depending on where you were located. The southeast portion of the county got the minimum, though the opposite was true for the northwest section. They got up to a foot or more, meteorologist said.
Downed power lines are all over the county, Sumner County Emergency Management Director James Fair said, with more located in the south and east.
“I know we have a few rural folks without power right now,” he said Monday afternoon.
Sumner-Cowley Electric had more than 300 customers in the dark on Monday — though most of the customers without power are located in Cowley County.
CEO Cletas Rains says the electric company is working day and night to restore power, though it is difficult because of the number of downed poles and now muddy and wet conditions.
“At one time we had five substations off, we have between 100 to 200 poles down...the heaviest ice was on the southern part right above the Oklahoma line and swooped up to Cowley County,” Rains said.
After getting journeymen from Dodge City in through the weather, work started immediately.
“We got 36 lineman working,” said Rains, who expects power to be fully restored by tonight, though it depends on the conditions.
“The conditions out there are horrible. The mud is unbelievable. We’ve had to hire three bulldozers to pull the trucks through the mud just to get out there to fix the poles. The conditions have held us down quite a bit,” Rains said.
Fair says though downed power lines and tree branches blanket the county, there was no major structural damage reported because of the storm.
The Sumner County Sheriff’s Department reported working seven accidents — one of them involving injuries.
On Saturday afternoon around 3 p.m., a car driven by Lindsey Metzen of Mayfield struck a patch of ice near the 100 block east of US 160 and struck an eastbound car driven by Cy Olivas of South Haven, the sheriff’s department reports. Both were treated for their injuries.
Numerous slide offs also kept deputies out in the cold as they assisted motorists from ditches and side streets.
“I think when most people got home on Friday evening, they kind of stayed there,” said Sumner County Sheriff Gerald Gilkey.
Cancellations were statewide as travel was nearly impossible because of the whiteout conditions and slick roads.
Grease was not the word at Wellington High School, as the school play had to be postponed to this weekend. Performances will be held Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, at the school auditorium.
The storm also interrupted the thespian performance of “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie at Oxford High School.
It has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Saturdayat and 4 p.m. Sunday in the high school auditorium.
For storm totals, go to The National Weather Service website at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ict.