Rain and ice led to early school release in Hiawatha and among area school districts on Friday and continued closures through the weekend and on Monday.
The National Weather Service predicted a quarter to a half inch of ice on Friday and an additional 3-6 inches of snow on Saturday. Fortunately, the snow pushed east and what was left behind was the ice that led to several closings of schools and other activities from Friday through Monday.
Local authorities say the weather led to some slide-offs in the county and some power outages, but for the most part no major issues.
Hiawatha Police Chief John Defore said he feels that’s largely due to people canceling activities and encouraging people to stay home.
“Knock on wood, we had no weather related issues or accidents,” Defore said. “ I would attribute this to the fact that school, many churches, and activities around our community were all concealed. I have to say in my 7.5 years here in Hiawatha, our community has always put the safety of others first.”
Sheriff John Merchant said there were many reports of slide offs, motorist assists and non-injury accidents due to the icy road conditions in the county, but also did not have any reports of major issues.
“Law enforcement and responders did their usual great job in responding,” he said. “I appreciate the efforts by KDOT for keeping the highways cleared which helped immensely.”
Sheriff Merchant said power was off around the county for up to 8 hours in some places, and the linemen worked in some very harsh conditions to restore power in a very timely manner.
“The county school districts made a very wise decision in cancelling schools because of the treacherous road conditions,” he said. “All in all I think we weathered this storm better than most, thank you to all those involved.”
Power outages were reported from both Evergy and Brown-Atchison Rural Electric customers, but outages were not widespread.
In addition to early school release, Friday night basketball games at Hiawatha, Horton, Sabetha and Doniphan West schools have been cancelled, as well as tournaments set for Doniphan West, Sabetha and Seneca on Saturday. On Monday, school was cancelled again — due to the icy and unsafe conditions of the roads — and activities for the evening were rescheduled.
The Hiawatha Youth Basketball on Saturday also cancelled, as well as Hiawatha Parks and Recreation activities scheduled for the school gymnasiums and the Fisher Center. Both groups say they hope to make up those games and activities and will announce reschedulings at a later date.
For school make-ups, check the individual school Facebook pages or websites.