Power outages, 7 inches of snow in parts of KC metro, didn’t stop the Chiefs fans

Snow blankets the metro area

A homeowner in Prairie Village clears snow from the driveway early Saturday morning after a winter storm blanketed the area in snow. Power outages were reported in many parts of Kansas City, including Prairie Village.
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A homeowner in Prairie Village clears snow from the driveway early Saturday morning after a winter storm blanketed the area in snow. Power outages were reported in many parts of Kansas City, including Prairie Village.

Thousands across the Kansas City area are without power Saturday after a winter storm dumped around 4 to 8 inches of snow in the metro.

Accumulations vary, from reports of 4.6 inches of snow at Kansas City International Airport and 7.5 in Independence to 5 inches in Olathe and 6.9 in Overland Park, said Pamela Pietrycha, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.

By Saturday night, the weather service said in a tweet it had measured 8.3 inches of snow outside its Pleasant Hill office.

During the storm, troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol covering the Kansas City area and surrounding counties responded to 343 drivers who had slid off the road, 122 crashes and three fatalities.

Several area schools and other organizations canceled events ahead of the snow.

Johnson County residents with no power checked into the Drury Inn in Merriam with pets in tow to watch the Kansas City Chiefs playoff game on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019.

The snowstorm knocked out electricity for tens of thousands of residents — including Kansas City Chiefs fans who planned to watch the playoffs game from home.

By 10:40 p.m., more than 91,000 customers, in both Kansas and Missouri, had no power, according to a KCP&L outage map.

The company said it had restored power to more than 70,000 customers so far Saturday afternoon. Around 250 additional workers from the MidAmerican Energy Company and Empire District were sent to the Kansas City area to help, the company’s Twitter page said.

“Unfortunately, due to the number of outages and conditions the crews are working in, we are unable to give estimates on when specific areas will be restored,” KCP&L said in a tweet. “We apologize for the inconvenience and greatly appreciate your patience.”

The company also warned that some residents could be left in the dark until Monday due to damage to power lines.

Snow blanketed the metro area leaving some areas, including parts of Prairie Village, without power Saturday morning. Prairie Village Police officer Ben Overesch and a public works employee put up a four-way stop at the intersection 67th Street and Mission Road, where the power was out. Tammy Ljungblad tljungblad@kcstar.com

The American Red Cross of Greater Kansas City opened a shelter late Saturday to help those without electricity at the Hillcrest Community Center, 10401 Hillcrest Rd. in Kansas City.

“We are transitioning our warming center to a shelter and will remain open overnight,” the organization announced in a tweet. “Please remember to bring medications, hygiene items and other comfort items, pillows, blankets, and items for children and anyone with special needs.”

Mother Nature wasn’t done with Kansas City by the time the Chiefs playoff game started Saturday at 3:35 p.m., but that didn’t stop fans who traveled to Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs went on to win against the Indianapolis Colts with a final score of 31-13.

“We are expecting light snow to continue through the afternoon,” Pietrycha said.

She did have a little good news, though. While there were a few flakes, the storm was winding down.

Later in the afternoon, Kansas City, and surrounding areas including Miami, Leavenworth, Wyandotte and Johnson counties in Kansas and Platte, Clay, Jackson and Cass counties in Missouri, were downgraded from a winter storm warning to a winter weather advisory as the snow storm was slowly exiting the region to the east.

No major additional accumulation was expected. And only a chance for some “light drizzle.”

“For any drizzle to form is kind of a toss up right now,” Pietrycha said.

Roads crews have been working hard to clear streets and highways.

Tips from the Missouri Department of Transportation for driving in winter weather.

All of the major highways in the metro were still partly covered with snow and slush Saturday night on the Missouri side, according to the online traveler map from the state’s Department of Transportation.

In Kansas, the department of transportation said its crews “finished up treating just before dark today and are on standby tonight and tomorrow in case conditions change.” It warned of re-freezing on roads, bridges and overpasses overnight.

Kansas City police took to Twitter after the Chiefs game Saturday to remind drivers to treat shut-down traffic signals as a four-way stop during the power outage.

“Hey KC, unlike the @Colts, you know how to get around in this weather. Power outages make a traffic signal go out? Treat it like a 4-way stop,” it said. “And leave lots of space between your car and the one in front of you.”

Overland Park Police released a reminder of the protocol for non-injury accidents during this type of snowy weather. If there aren’t any injuries, motorists are asked to “walk in the accident at a later date.”

“Police will continue to respond to injury accident or accidents where the vehicles are not drivable or accidents where substance abuse is suspected,” the release said.

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Laura Bauer came to The Star in 2005 after spending much of her life in southwest Missouri. She’s a member of the investigative team focusing on watchdog journalism. In her 25-year career, Laura’s stories on child welfare, human trafficking, crime and Kansas secrecy have been nationally recognized.

Kaitlyn Schwers covers breaking news and crime at night for The Kansas City Star. Originally from Willard, Mo., she spent nearly three years reporting in Arkansas and Illinois before returning to Missouri and joining The Star in 2017.