The National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill is warning travelers in the Kansas City area to be wary of slick roads and reduced visibility during Thursday’s evening commute.
After a second round of precipitation, this time snow, swept through the area Thursday afternoon, weather officials said slick roads and reduced visibility continue to be a major concern, especially as temperatures drop into the single digits to low teens overnight.
Conditions will be dry into the evening, however, any roads which were unable to dry before freezing will remain slick during the overnight hours. Patches of black ice are possible through Friday morning.
People are urged to use caution while walking on untreated surfaces like parking lots, sidewalks and driveways because they might be covered with a glaze of ice.
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A strong cold front that surged south into the Kansas City area earlier in the day produced light snow. Rain fell across the Kansas City Thursday morning and switched over to light freezing rain about 8 a.m. in the Northland. The wet pavement on some area roads started to show signs of flash freezing.
Kansas City’s Emergency Operations Center warned at 9 a.m. that icing was reported across the metro area. People were urged not to drive unless it was necessary.
All major school districts across the metro area canceled classes in advance of the storm, including Blue Springs; Blue Valley; Center; Independence; Kansas City; Kansas City, Kan.; North Kansas City; Park Hill; Liberty; Olathe; and Shawnee Mission school districts.
Although moderate rain was falling across the Kansas City area at the beginning of the morning commute, the roads began turning slick around 8 a.m. after temperatures dipped below freezing.
At Kansas City International Airport, it was 51 degrees shortly before midnight. By 11 a.m., the temperature had fallen to 19 degrees as light snow fell.
Slick roads were being reported earlier in the morning farther north in Missouri, where temperatures had fallen to 18 degrees by 11 a.m. in St. Joseph. Light snow also was falling.
Meanwhile, temperatures in southern parts of the metro area were warmer. As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Olathe was 21 degrees, while Lee’s Summit was 23 degrees.
The Kansas Highway Patrol worked multiple slide-offs in north-central Kansas.
The National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill said the forecast of freezing rain, sleet and snow remained on track as the strong cold front was bringing a dramatic change to the weather. Temperatures are expected to plummet into the teens by this afternoon.
The heaviest snow, about 4 to 6 inches, was expected to fall Thursday morning across far northwestern Missouri.
The rapid drop in temperatures might result in refreezing of any rain that fell earlier in the day, adding to the possibility of slick roads throughout the day and for the evening commute.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for the Kansas City area, saying the light icing will result in slippery conditions on sidewalks, roads and bridges.
The advisory is in effect from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
RideKC said that while it has prepared for the possibility of ice and snow, bus riders could experience delays as road conditions worsen. It urged riders to check www.RideKC.org for updates.
Meanwhile RideKC Freedom is operating under the Phase A of its inclement weather plan. Paratransit riders may experience delays of 30 to 60 minutes past scheduled pickup times. Riders with nonessential travel were encouraged to reschedule their trips by calling 816-842-9070.
Kansas City Streetcar sent out an alert advising riders had suspended service because of ice buildup on the overhead wires. Two RideKC buses were running the route to supplement service.
The streetcar operators treated the overhead wires with de-icer prior to service as well as intermittently Thursday morning. However, the rate of falling rain and the dramatic drop in temperatures allowed ice to form, according to a news release from the Kansas City Streetcar. To help clear the ice, crews were going to tow a streetcar along the route.
Once streetcar service resumes, speeds might be restricted to ensure rider safety.
Meanwhile, WCA has recalled its trucks and suspended trash collections in the Kansas City area because of icy streets.
“We determined that the risk of injury or property damage was too great to continue our operations, so we decided to get our fleet off the icy streets while public works crews deal with the situation,” Al Blease, regional vice president for WCA, said in a release.
Waste Management of Kansas City also has pulled its trucks off of roads in the Kansas City area.
“With the current poor road conditions due to the icy weather, our primary concern is for the safety of our drivers and the public,” said Paul Howe, senior manager of community relations for Waste Management in a release. “As a result, we are pulling collection vehicles off the road at this time.
Thursday’s residential service will be collected Friday and Friday’s customers will be collected by the end of Saturday.
This story will be updated throughout the day Thursday.