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More snow pounds northwest Kansas

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

While the Hays area had only a trace of snow from an early spring storm by Saturday afternoon, far northwest Kansas had considerably more.

The storm set up farther north than was expected in early forecasts, said Ray Burgert, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Dodge City.

"A track of 50 miles can make a big difference," Burgert said.

Ryan Husted, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Goodland, said the snow in Goodland measured 14 inches by mid-morning, and he had seen reports of as much as a foot of snow in the St. Francis area.

With more snow expected through Saturday, Husted said the storm could bring as much as 16 inches of snow to the area.

"If it does, it will fall in the top 10 of storms," Husted said.

It's not unusual to have winter storms that bring a lot of snow in March.

"We call this blizzard season," he said. "It's definitely a heavy, wet snow."

This is the second significant snow storm to hit northwest Kansas in the past month. A storm dubbed Winter Storm Q dumped more than a foot of snow in the region in late February. Hays was near the center of that storm, receiving approximately 17 inches of snow.

With most of the main roads closed, including portions of Interstate 70, the weather caused few traffic problems, Crissy Livengood, director of communications for Sherman County, said Saturday afternoon.

"An emergency shelter hasn't been needed, (but) we have people lined up to open one if needed," she said. The snow forecast cancelled several events and caused the early departure of the Special Olympics athletes and their families. Friday night activities and Saturday games were cancelled.

"That was a good call," said Bill Ring, Ellis County Emergency Management Coordinator. "People have to get back (home) to Goodland and Colby where they had 16 inches of snow."

The cancellation is sad for the participants, and impacts local businesses, said Jana Jordan, director of Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"We have a full house in the community with families here to watch," she said. "That's the way it goes. Sometimes the weather causes us to lose out."

That same weather also can fill motel rooms, too, she said.

Ring said the Saturday events for the Regional 4-H Day also were cancelled.

"We'll always side with safety," he said.