With the Chiefs on the verge of making the playoffs, tailgater James McCartney had a simple reason to brave the frigid temperatures for the Tennessee Titans game on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
“I want to be a part of that this year,” a bundled-up McCartney said. “We wanted the whole tailgating experience. You see it kinda going on right now. This is just getting livened up right now.”
The only way he would miss a Chiefs game because of the cold is if his truck wouldn’t start, he said.
That would not have been surprising, considering what Kansas City had to endure over the weekend: dangerous weather and a brutal 19-17 Chiefs loss on a last-second field goal, delaying a playoff berth and jeopardizing chances at a top seed.
By 7 a.m. Sunday, the temperature in Kansas City hit minus-9 degrees, tying the third-coldest reading this century. Add in the wind chills, and it felt like minus-30 degrees in some areas.
This century has only been colder on Feb. 3, 2011, when temperatures dropped to minus-12 degrees, and Jan. 6, 2014, when temps dropped to minus-11.
And Sunday didn’t get much warmer. Highs were still in the single digits late in the afternoon.
The National Weather Service recommended that anyone venturing outside wear several layers and take extra care to cover exposed skin.
At 9 a.m., the weather service said via Twitter: “For all you fans of the grid iron, it is just as cold right now in Kansas City as it is in Green Bay, WI (-6 deg). #frozentundra
“It’s pretty cold,” said Joe Lewis, who lives in downtown Kansas City and was celebrating his 31st birthday in the River Market with his brother, Jacob Lewis of Liberty. “I don’t think it’s too terribly bad because it’s not terribly windy. But, you know, it feels not great.”
Growing up in Gladstone area, the two brothers are accustomed to Kansas City winters and know just how cold it can get.
“This is bad, but not necessarily the worst I felt in Kansas City,” Joe Lewis said.
This is the first winter in Kansas City for Reggie and Nadia Woolridge of Kansas City, North. The couple had lived in California for 28 years prior to moving to the Kansas City area about a year ago.
“It’s fun for us because this is our first time enjoying the winter,” Reggie Woolridge said with a chuckle. “This is our first winter.”
Nadia Woolridge was born and raised in Italy, so she’s excited about the weather.
“I love the snow,” she said. “I love to be in a place with four seasons.”
The Woolridges didn’t have any tips to pass along about staying warm in single-digit temperatures.
“I’ll tell you, we’re still learning,” Reggie Woolridge said. “As you can see, I don’t have my scarf or my earmuffs on or anything like that. So I’m still learning. I’m learning as I go.”
More than a dozen flights were canceled or delayed at Kansas City International Airport on Sunday morning.
Airfield operations were pretty much normal later Sunday morning, said Joe McBride, a spokesman for the airport. The field maintenance crews headed home at 11 a.m. after a 12-hour shift.
“Flights are arriving and departing much better today,” McBride said.
For drivers, getting around Kansas City was getting easier, but officials still recommended that people stay home and only travel if absolutely necessary.
Although roads remained slick, they were not nearly as bad as Saturday morning after freezing drizzle coated roads across the metro area, covering them with ice and contributing to scores of accidents.
Calls went out by officials urging people to remain home Saturday. Three Overland Park police officers sustained minor injuries in weather-related crashes Saturday.
On the Kansas side, drivers had to deal with snow and in some places slush. They needed to use extra caution on bridges and ramps.
“We have better road conditions today,” said Kimberly Qualls, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Transportation. “Still, we have snow-covered areas.”
Crews were treating the roads with a heavier layer of salt. Combining that with the traffic and sunshine, the hope was to melt some of the snow, despite the “brutal insane temps that are out there,” she said.
This was the first real snowstorm for which KDOT was able to use its TowPlow. The Transportation Department bought two TwoPlows last year, one each for northeast and northwest Kansas.
The TowPlow is towed behind and alongside a dump truck with a standard plow. The two work in unison to clear two lanes. In the Kansas City area, the TowPlow focuses primarily on Interstate 35.
On the Missouri side, highways remained partly covered Sunday.
Because of the bitter cold, officials were urging people to remain home.
“There are a lot of stalled vehicles out there,” said Markl Johnson, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Transportation. “That’s an indication that people are getting out without vehicles properly maintained. The temperature the way it is will weaken a battery a great deal.”
While conditions were not quite as slick as they were Saturday, the roads still remained slippery.
“The message that was given yesterday remains in effect: It is not safe to venture out,” Johnson said. “If you don’t have to get out, we strongly suggest that you don’t.”
In Kansas City, crews applied salt and plowed roads. The work was expected to continue into the evening hours.
Plans called for crews to treat bridges for frost early Monday as well as continuing to plow and treat primary and residential roads.
Tim Ostby, who lives in the River Market area, had just moved to the area from Minnesota, so the cold wasn’t affecting him. He was head to grab “some hot food on a cold day.”
“This is actually pretty typical,” Ostby said. “It’s nice. It’s not 13 below like it is up there. It’s not bad. It’s a nice day — if you keep moving.”