Area battles long cold snap

Ten days of single-digit temperatures along with ice and blowing snow has proven difficult for the city of Harrisonville Street Department. While the snow is normal, the bitter cold is what creates the challenge, according to Rodney Jacobs, the city’s street superintendent.

“Normally, you can just spread salt on the streets. But when it’s this cold, salt doesn’t work, so we have to just keep going over and over the streets until we can scrape the snow and ice off,” Jacobs said.

“It takes a lot more man hours because all you can do is beat it down.”

As of Tuesday, Harrisonville crews have had to work the streets 11 days since Jan. 1. The typical storm costs the city about $5,000 per day in labor and materials, but this week’s work has been about 20 percent higher because of the man hours involved.

Electrical service

Compared to some other area cities, Harrisonville has been fortunate not only with street maintenance, but with electrical service as well. Early this week, Evergy, which operates much of the electrical service in the Kansas City metro, announced rolling blackouts. Harrisonville has had no such problem. Daniel Barnett, Harrisonville city clerk, provided information from Electric Superintendent Andy Pollard.

“Due to the extreme cold that the Midwest has been facing since Friday, power grids throughout several states are being required to produce incredible amounts of energy. This, coupled by a shortage in fuel, has caused several communities, including the Kansas City metro area and provider Evergy, to conduct rolling blackouts. Thankfully, Harrisonville was not included in the blackouts conducted by Evergy on Monday and at this time, are not included in the plans for continued blackouts.

“We are grateful to not only not to have to go through these rolling blackouts, but to also inform everyone that throughout the day Monday, zero residential power outages were reported. On Monday, the power grid for the Harrisonville community was operating at approximately 65 percent load capacity. This is comparable to any high-usage event, but is still low enough to keep the city from losing power or needing to cut power from the grid.

“We greatly appreciate your willingness to make this sacrifice to keep our community safe and warm.”

Conservation tips

The city also provided tips to conserve on energy:

Some of the biggest ways you can impact this supply/demand nightmare are bundling up, keeping thermostats at 65 to 67 degrees and limiting major appliance usage.

Here are some tips to keep you warm and help conserve energy use:

Wear layers of clothing and use extra blankets.

Set thermostat settings at 68 degrees or as low as possible while you are home.

Customers who are elderly or have medical conditions complicated by the cold should not lower their thermostat.

Lock doors and windows for a better seal. For drafty windows, close storm windows and consider keeping window shades closed for extra insulation.

Don’t block heating system air vents with furniture, curtains or rugs.

Limit the use of natural gas fireplaces and electric space heaters.

Roll up a towel to put at the bottom of a leaky door to keep drafts at bay.

Turn off nonessential lights.

Postpone all nonessential energy use.

Turn off and unplug computers, monitors, chargers, printers and televisions during non use.

Warmth Stations

Because of the extended cold spell, the city has opened the lobby of the Harrisonville Police Station, 205 N. Lexington St., as a warming shelter for those in need. Building access will be limited to the lobby only. A restroom will be made available to those using the warming shelter.

Those who do decide to utilize the warming shelter will be expected to behave themselves.

Masks are required inside city buildings.

American Legion Post 42, Harrisonville, has announced that it will open its doors as a cold weather shelter. The building has cots, bathroom facilities, water and light meals available.