Kansas City area braces for winter wallop as 8 or more inches of snow is forecast

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02/04/2014 4:35 PM

05/16/2014 11:33 AM

Whether a dreaded 10 inches of snow materializes, much of the Kansas City area will be shut down Tuesday.

Nobody, it seems, wants to pull an Atlanta by being caught off guard.

The Missouri Department of Transportation even went to the unusual length of advising employers to let workers stay home.

“This is a safety issue for the public and an issue of efficiency for us,” said Stephen Porter, a department spokesman.

Cancellations included schools and college campuses, government offices and medical clinics. The looming snowfall even prompted

a postponement in the distribution

of Boulevard Brewing Co.’s hotly anticipated Chocolate Ale.

Jackson County government offices and courts will be closed, as will Johnson County government offices and the Johnson County and Olathe public libraries.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte urged people to stay home from work Tuesday if possible — but not city employees. James and Schulte said city employees have important work to do and are expected to report as usual, although they may be allowed to go home early if conditions deteriorate significantly.

Kansas City Municipal Court dockets, however, are canceled. People with court cases will be notified by mail of a new date. Shawnee Municipal Court also will be closed, as will the Civic Centre, but City Hall will be open.

Schools districts across the area, from Lee’s Summit to Shawnee Mission, canceled classes. The University of Missouri campuses in Columbia and Kansas City canceled all classes, and Kansas State University closed its campuses in Manhattan and Olathe. The UMKC dental clinic also will be closed.

The National Weather Service is forecasting 8 or more inches of snow in the Kansas City area, with the storm intensifying throughout the day before subsiding Tuesday night. Winds will limit visibility, making driving treacherous.

Rock salt was scarce on store shelves Monday night.

The JO and Area Transportation Agency buses will try to stay on schedule. ATA General Manager Mark Huffer said the ATA will have two buses with chains and special bumpers to push buses that get stuck. The ATA also is testing new snow tires on a half-dozen buses.

“I think we'll be ready,” Huffer said, adding that he expected the ATA to operate at full service all day.

Grain Valley City Hall will be closed, but the community center will be open so people can vote on a $3.8 million school bond.

Even some medical offices will be closed. The Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center will close at 1 p.m. All clinic locations will reopen Wednesday at their usual times, weather permitting.

All clinics of the University of Kansas Hospital and University of Kansas Physicians will be closed, and all scheduled clinic visits are canceled. However, all surgeries, outpatient procedures and cancer treatments will continue as scheduled.

All classes and nonessential activities at the KU Medical Center today have been canceled.

Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi said the city’s ambulances can handle 8 inches of snow and can usually maneuver on the main streets but heavier snow on side streets can pose problems. So the Fire Department will deploy seven four-wheel-drive ambulances to get to those tough spots.

Kansas City officials said the city has plenty of salt. The city has 175 snow plows for its primary and arterial streets. They are expected to begin plowing at 7:30 a.m. and continue around the clock until the roads are clear.

The city also has 65 smaller plows for residential streets. They will be out for 12-hour daytime shifts, starting at 7:30 a.m. and will plow a passable lane.

More information about snow preparations, including maps showing where snow plows are working, is available at

KCMO.org/snow

.

James reminded people to keep their pets inside. “Pets left outside in this weather is considered animal cruelty and will be dealt with in that way,” he said.

Schulte said three community centers will be open normal hours Tuesday, no matter the conditions, in case people need places to stay warm. Those are: the Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd St. Trafficway; the Gregg/Klice Community Center near 18th and Vine; and the Line Creek Community Center, 5940 N.W. Waukomis Drive.

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