GM starts layoff notices

by Rebecca Tombaugh

Employee notifications began with a reduction from three shifts to two, says Mary Padilla, spokesperson at General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

Padilla said this will cause the least impact to workers. Lower demand for passenger cars is the reason, and she said GM is switching to the crossovers, which are increasing in demand.

Late Friday, Mark Holland, Mayor and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, issued this statement:

“Upon hearing news of layoffs at General Motors’ Fairfax Assembly Plant, my first concern was for the workers and their families. Today, I reached out to the United Autoworkers Union #31 to express that concern and to let them know that we are ready to help in any way we can to minimize the impact on the workers and their families.

“No community likes to receive news of a major employer laying off employees. We are fortunate in Kansas City, Kansas, to have a strong partnership with GM. That partnership has helped GM invest $800 million in its Fairfax plant since 2009. I am hopeful that GM will remain strong and that the Fairfax plant will grow back to its full employment capacity very soon.

“We are also fortunate that the Unified Government, in partnership with Wyandotte Economic Development Council, has worked hard for more than a decade to diversify our economy so we can protect against downturns in specific sectors. In recent years, we have seen the growth of our health care, service, corporate, and small to mid-size manufacturing sectors, with 11,000 jobs added in just the last four years. I am confident that this work will continue to create a healthy economy in Wyandotte County and help us find new opportunities for the affected GM employees.”

Weather today to be hot, humid, with severe storm threat

Wyandotte County is in a slight risk category for today’s severe storms. (National Weather Service graphic)

Today’s high will reach 93, with an afternoon heat index as high as 101, according to the National Weather Service.

Strong to severe storms will be possible late this afternoon and evening as a complex of storms across the Central Plains moves southeast into the area, the weather service said.

Large hail and damaging winds will be the biggest threats with this activity, with the strongest storms expected along and north of the Route 36 corridor, in the St. Joseph, Mo., area, according to the weather service.

Hot and humid conditions will continue on Saturday as highs climb into the middle 90s and the heat index reaches the 104 to 109-degree range, the weather service said. A heat advisory for Saturday afternoon has been issued for Wyandotte County, from noon to 7 p.m., according to the weather service.

Strong to severe storms will be possible Saturday afternoon and evening, with large hail and damaging winds possible with the strongest activity, the weather service said.

Tonight, there is a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 1 a.m., according to the weather service, with a low of 74 and a south wind of 10 mph. Between a tenth and a quarter of an inch of rain is possible.

Saturday, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m., the weather service said. It will be mostly sunny, with a high near 95, and a heat index as high as 106. A south southwest wind will be from 9 to 14 mph, gusting as high as 21 mph.

Saturday night, there is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, with a low of around 66, according to the weather service. There will be a north wind of 6 to 11 mph. Between a tenth and quarter of an inch of rain is possible.

Sunday, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 p.m., with a high near 81, the weather service said. A northwest wind of 5 to 13 mph will gust as high as 20 mph.

Sunday night, it will be mostly clear with a low of 60, according to the weather service.

Monday, it will be sunny with a high near 84, the weather service said.

Monday night, it will be partly cloudy with a low of 66, according to the weather service.

Tuesday, it will be mostly sunny with a high near 89, the weather service said.

Tuesday night, there is a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms with a low of 70, according to the weather service.

For more weather information, visit www.weather.gov.

Wyandotte County is in an enhanced risk area for severe storms on Saturday. (National Weather Service graphic)

A heat advisory is in effect for Wyandotte County from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday. (National Weather Service graphic)

Parts of Wyandotte County under severe thunderstorm warning

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for northern Wyandotte County until 9:30 p.m.

Northern Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Kansas, and Bonner Springs are among the areas in the line of the storm, according to the weather service. Surrounding areas including Leavenworth County and Platte County also are in the path of the storm.

At 8:29 p.m., radar was tracking a strong thunderstorm near Eudora and Lawrence, moving east at 25 mph, the weather service said. Winds of more than 40 mph are possible with the storm, along with hail.

Expected hazards include quarter-size hail, according to the weather service. There may be hail damage to vehicles, roofs, siding and trees.

Residents should move into an interior room on the lowest floor of the building, the weather service said.