Multiple crashes reported on snow-covered roads Friday. ‘Take your time,’ KC weather service says

Debris scattered across I-70 near Concordia after multi-vehicle pile-up

At least 20 vehicles were involved in a pile-up on Interstate 70 near Concordia after a winter storm made road conditions dangerous on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2019.
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At least 20 vehicles were involved in a pile-up on Interstate 70 near Concordia after a winter storm made road conditions dangerous on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2019.

As snow blanketed the Kansas City area, multi-vehicle accidents across the region blocked major highways throughout the day Friday, and the Missouri Department of Transportation warned people who did not need to go out to stay home.

The National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill estimated the Kansas City metro received 3 to 5 inches of snow with accumulations higher on the north side. The snow left roads mostly covered throughout the region by nightfall, leaving drivers to deal with hazardous road conditions.

“The snowfall is ending, but looking at webcams and the MoDOT road conditions map roads are still mostly snow-covered,” the weather service said on Twitter. “If you are heading out this evening, plan accordingly and take your time as it is very slick in places.”

“Today is one of those days where staying inside is probably the smartest thing to do,” MoDOT also tweeted earlier in the day. “Please use extreme caution if you have to get out. Take your time.”

By Friday evening, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said troopers responded to 300 calls for service, 147 slide-offs, 65 crashes with eight injuries and one fatality.

The highway patrol reported a fatal crash in the Oak Grove area on I-70 around 1 p.m. The traffic accident happened around mile marker 29 and closed the westbound lanes of traffic for nearly six hours.

The highway patrol earlier said the accident involved at least 15 vehicles. By Friday night, the highway patrol updated its information on the wreck, describing it as a “47-car pileup.”

Other multi-vehicle crashes on I-49 north of Peculiar and on I-70 West near Concordia also shut down traffic in the afternoon.

In Kansas, the state’s Department of Transportation said three of its snow plows were struck by other drivers while working in Johnson County.

Officials on both sides of the state line implored drivers to give snow plows plenty of room to work.

In Missouri, if you become stranded dial *55 from your cell phone or 911 if you need emergency assistance.

Ahead of the storm the Kansas Highway Patrol announced that it will have any abandoned vehicle towed from the shoulders of Kansas City area interstates and highways.

The towing of vehicles is to help state road crews with snow removal, according to a written statement from the patrol.

Drivers whose vehicles have been towed can call dispatchers at *47 to find out where their vehicles were taken. The towing will be done at the owner’s expense.

To check road conditions in Missouri, visit traveler.modot.org.

To check road conditions in Kansas, visit kandrive.org.

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As a regional growth producer, Leah manages all things digital at The Kansas City Star. She’s also co-host of Deep Background, our news and politics podcast. Leah is a member of The Star’s 2018 Pulitzer finalist team for her work on “Secret Kansas.”
Tony Rizzo covers federal and state courts for The Kansas City Star, where he has been a reporter for more than 30 years. He is a Kansas City native and veteran of the U.S. Army.