A dangerous mix of snow, ice and sleet hammered southern Missouri and other parts of the country for a second straight day on Friday, causing numerous accidents, including a wreck that killed a small-town Missouri mayor.
By JIM SALTER
The Associated Press
The National Weather Service issued winter storm and ice warnings through much of Friday for parts of Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee.
The storm stretched from South Texas up into northern New England and the Canadian Maritimes.
The Show-Me State was getting the worst of both snow and ice, at least along a corridor south of Interstate 44. Some areas had up to 10 inches of snow on the ground by Friday morning, with more on the way. Making matters worse was the bitter cold, with wind chills dipping to near zero.
Kansas City escaped the brunt of the storm, except the cold temperatures.
But the National Weather Service said the area can expect snow to arrive late today or early Sunday and continue into the late afternoon or evening. The Kansas City area may get 1 to 2 inches, while areas to the north will get more.
“We’re looking at a pretty chilly weekend across Kansas City,” said Matt Dux, a meteorologist with the weather service at Pleasant Hill. “Temperatures (today) will run a few degrees below the normal temperature, which is 25. The high (today) will only reach about 20 degrees.”
Morning wind chill readings between zero and 5 below zero are expected across northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas through Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Missouri, Granby Mayor Ronald Arnall, 64, died Thursday afternoon when his truck ran off a highway and struck a tree. Arnall was a longtime city councilman who was elected mayor of Granby, a community of 2,100 residents in far southwest Missouri, in April, City Clerk Paula Carsel said.
Capt. Tim Hull of the Missouri Highway Patrol said the accident was the only one involving a fatality, but he cited numerous wrecks south of St. Louis and across the southern tier of the state, most of them cars and trucks sliding off the roadway.
“There’s just not much traction you can get on ice,” Hull said. “When you’ve got a little bit of sleet mixed in, it’s hard to stop and get control.”
Freezing rain in Texas left a quarter-million customers without electricity Friday morning. Schools canceled classes, many businesses gave workers the day off and frigid roads and sidewalks were mostly empty. Millions of residents hunkered down for icy conditions expected to last through the weekend.
Organizers of Sunday’s Dallas Marathon canceled the event early Friday afternoon.
Officials blamed freezing precipitation across southern Oklahoma for at least two deaths — a 5-year-old boy killed when the van he was riding in overturned on an icy road and a transient man discovered dead under an overpass.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe declared a statewide emergency, making it easier for crews to repair expected damage to trees and power lines.
In California, four homeless people have died of hypothermia in the San Francisco Bay Area since last week, authorities said. Temperatures in San Jose fell to 30 degrees Friday morning, breaking the record low of 32 degrees for that date, which was set in 1904.
The storm also was affecting the holiday mailing season.
Businesses small and large are waiting for pickups, and consumers across the land are receiving notices that their packages will be delayed because of the storm.
“Really with this event, we are looking at it almost like we would a hurricane,” said Lucas McDonald, a senior emergency manager for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The Star’s Matt Campbell contributed to this report.