By LESLIE COLLINS
March 13, 2013
Approximately 20 inches of snow fell to the ground during Kansas City’s two major snow storms on Feb. 21 and Feb. 25.
The heavy snowfall wasn’t enough to break any records or qualify for federal assistance, said Kansas City Emergency Operations Manager Gene Shepherd.
However, during the second storm, the city received more than 100 calls for downed trees and 22,000 Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) customers didn’t have electricity.
During both storms, Kansas City’s Emergency Operations Center was in full swing with city employees working round-the-clock to ensure the safety of Kansas Citians. Those working at the center included representatives from KCP&L, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, the Public Works Department, police and fire, General Services, city manager’s office, among other city departments.
For the first time, KCATA was on site at the Emergency Operations Center and when KCATA could no longer keep up with plowing around bus stops and bus stations, the city provided additional assistance. City crews also provided assistance to the 60-some busses that became stuck during the storm.
Bringing city departments and other agencies together in one room allowed the city to have a unified response and work together when issues arose, he said.
“I think overall it went well,” Shepherd said of Kansas City’s response to the storm.
John Sharp, City Council member and chair of the city’s Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee, agreed.
“I think we did much better than we have in the past. There were some tough situations,” Sharp said of snow removal.
However, there’s still room for improvement, Sharp said.
While the city excelled in removing snow from major thoroughfares, residential streets continue to be a challenge, he said.
“I still think we can do a better job of prioritizing residential streets that are particularly dangerous because of hilly or curvy roads,” Sharp said. “I’d rate our city employee efforts as an A+ and I’d grade our efforts on cleaning major streets very highly, too.”