Governor signs state of emergency as frigid cold grips Kansas

People Walking In Snow With Gas Containers Crawford County Kan Feb 15 2021
Photo taken near 400 and 69 Highway south of Pittsburg, Kan. (Feb. 15, 2021)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Laura Kelly has declared a state of disaster for Kansas as frigid temperatures and life-threatening wind chills continue to grip the state.

Wind chills dropped as low as minus 30 in some areas overnight Sunday and temperatures will struggle to be above zero, adding to nearly a week of extremely low temperatures in much of the state, The National Weather Service said.

Most government offices and schools were closed because of the Presidents Day holiday and authorities were pleading with residents to stay home.

The low temperatures put stress on utility and natural gas providers, which were asking customers to conserve energy during the cold snap. The emergency declaration allows of state resources and personnel to be used to help with response or recovery operations under certain circumstances.

“As the extreme cold temperatures continue to affect the region, we are urging Kansans to conserve energy in order to help ensure a continued supply of natural gas and electricity and keep their own personal costs down,” Kelly said.

The freezing conditions were expected to last through Tuesday in much of the state before temperatures gradually warm during the week.

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In Missouri, the Governor is working with officials to determine if a state of emergency is needed.