A spring snowstorm dumped 30 inches of snow on Pratt exactly 10 years ago on March 27 and 28, 2009. It is still a record in the state.
It was a storm like none other in Pratt. In 2009, a blizzard dumped 30 inches of snow on Pratt and Pratt County in 24 hours starting Friday morning, March 27 and continuing through Saturday morning, March 28. The 30 inches set a state record for the most snowfall in 24 hours, a record that still stands today.
At the height of the storm, snow was horizontal and every street was impassible. The snow was so deep, some people couldn’t get the doors open to their houses. Streets vanished under the thick blanket of snow and cars and pickups were buried up to their windows.
For a time, all highways into Pratt, U.S. 54, U.S. 281 and K-61 were closed and the Army National Guard had to rescue stranded motorists. The Guard also helped break open streets.
A volunteer with a tractor helped get a pregnant woman to the hospital after the snow collapsed the porch roof at her house. Another tractor and road grader helped clear an intersection and firefighters shoveled a sidewalk so an ambulance crew could get a patient to the hospital.
All the streets were blocked and city crews had their hands full trying to get streets open. Extra effort was made to keep emergency services available. City and county equipment worked to clear roads to health care facilities and Pratt Regional Medical Center. A county road grader was assigned to each ambulance if they were needed.
Trash collection was a problem because the city focused their efforts getting streets open and didn’t clear alleys. Several people with tractors volunteered their equipment to help get streets open.
Some drifts reached up to roof lines on houses. Road grader operators reported snow drifts in the county as tall as the road grader.
Snow caused a roof on a downtown building to fail. Melting water the day after the blizzard, rained on offices and caused ceiling tile to collapse on the furniture. No one was in the building at the time.
Because the snow weighed so much, a bucket truck was used to inspect downtown roofs.
The area got a break weather wise when the sun came out and the temperature got above 50 degrees for several days and that helped get rid of the snow.
But for several days, it was a mess getting the snow cleared and things back to normal.
Other parts of Kansas received snowfall the weekend of March 27-28, 2009, but Pratt topped the record books that day with the most inches recorded by far in the state.