On Friday, April 28, 2017, the National Weather Service (NWS) in Dodge City predicted parts of Western Kansas would see wintry weather over the weekend. By Saturday morning, all of Wheatland Electric’s service territory in western Kansas was in a Winter Storm Warning.
The NWS predicted parts of western Kansas would see significant snow accumulations with tree limb damage and power outages likely. Heavy snow began falling Saturday morning resulting in scattered outages across Wheatland’s service territory. Snow continued to fall across much of southwest Kansas. The heaviest snow bands stretched from southwest of Ulysses to Scott City. Wheatland’s service territory experienced snowfall rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour. The snow shut down numerous roads Sunday in western Kansas. The National Weather Service in Dodge City said the snow amounts were “unprecedented” for so late in the season—16 to 20 inches fell. Howling winds accompanied the snow, gusting up to 70 mph. The storm dropped visibility to near zero and resulted in snowdrifts as high as 8 feet.
Wheatland suffered major damage to its system with more than 13,000 outages and 1,100 poles damaged. Restoration efforts lasted more than a month. All meters were restored with power on June 7, 2017. Life in Kansas is beautiful, and living in Kansas is a constant reminder of the awesome power of “Mother Nature.” From thunderstorms and lightning, to tornadoes and blizzards, dangerous storms can occur at any time of the year and can be devastating to homes, properties and lives.