The commute home turned treacherous Monday night as slush covered streets became icy in parts of the Kansas City area.
Emergency crews responded to numerous crashes throughout the night.
The Riverside Public Safety Department asked on Twitter that drivers to avoid Interstate 635 through its city, saying there were multiple car crashes and slide off on both the northbound and southbound lanes of the highway.
“We are very serious about 635,” Riverside said on Twitter, “our PD (Police Department) and FD (Fire Department) are working wrecks in both directions.”
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The Clay County sheriff warned that falling temperatures would cause some roads to become hazardous.
The Northland wasn’t the only area seeing refreezing. Lenexa police shut down the ramp from Lackman Road to eastbound Interstate 435 due to slick conditions and vehicles stuck on the ramp. Police also said the right lane on eastbound I-435 to the Interstate 35 ramp had been closed.
The Kansas Department of Transportation warned that roads were becoming slick because of refreezing and multiple crashes were being reported. Although KDOT crews were treating the highways, officials warned drivers to take it slow.
The roads started to turn slick midafternoon as sleet turned into accumulating snow.
“We had been looking pretty good for a while, but now it’s starting to get bad out there,” said Melissa Black, the communications manager for the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Kansas City district.
“The snow is coming down … and it’s starting to accumulate,” Black said. “For the Kansas City area, looking at our routes, they are covered or partly covered (with snow). We’ve gone from decent shape to getting worse with the snow falling.”
Highway departments had crews out working continuously since Sunday night.
“If you don’t have to get out, we advise you not to,” Black said. “This is unfortunately going to get worse before it gets better.”
Several police departments, including Overland Park and Kansas City, Kan., have asked anyone involved in non-injury crashes to walk in reports to their nearest police station.
Overland Park said it responded to more than 40 crashes since midnight.
While police responded to injury crashes or crashes involving disabled vehicles or impaired drivers, drivers in non-injury crashes were encouraged to exchange driver’s license numbers, insurance information, license plate numbers and names of people involved, including passengers and witnesses.
What a difference a few hours made. The Kansas City area’s first taste of winter weather Monday morning was more appetizer than full-fledged meal.
The light mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain left streets wet, slushy and in some places very slick for the Monday morning commute.
But with traffic lighter than normal because of the holiday season, and the roads effectively treated because of temperatures hovering near the freezing mark, accidents and slide-offs were relatively few.
By Monday afternoon, however, the sleet changed to snow across the metropolitan area. The storm moved out of the Kansas City area early this evening. But the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill warned that its impacts will remain for a while.
It advised on Twitter that roads will remain slick for the next few days.
Temperatures are expected to be in upper 20s to lower 30s through the end of the week, before warming a little to the middle 30s for the weekend. Overnight lows will be in the teens to lower 20s.
Other than light snow on Wednesday morning, there are no indication of any more winter weather for the next 7 to 10 days, according to the National Weather Service.