Accidents snarl highways; beware black ice

Slick roads on New Year’s Eve created mayhem on area roads, and the driving may not a lot better on Tuesday.

Falling temperatures overnight were threatening to turn wet roads into sheets of ice by morning.

“All the melted snow will refreeze, causing black ice to form on roads, driveways, sidewalks, etc,” said the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, cautioning about a “very dangerous situation.”

Black ice occurs when a thin layer freezes over the asphalt, making the ice transparent and difficult to see.

Temperatures were expected to struggle back into the 20s Tuesday but drop again into the teens tonight as high pressure settles into the area, the weather service said.

On Monday night police departments on both sides of the state line were already grappling with numerous accidents.

Several sections of interstate were shut down while police cleared accidents. Other vehicles simply slid off slick roadways.

One person was killed in a series of accidents shortly after 4 p.m. that temporarily shut down southbound Interstate 35 near Kearney. The Missouri Highway Patrol said a man apparently got out of his vehicle after a collision and was struck by another vehicle. The accidents were attributed to the slick road surface.

The weather service forecasted the possibility of an additional 1/2 to 1 1/2inches of snow overnight on top of what began falling Monday morning. A spotter in Olathe reported 5 inches of snow there at 6:30 p.m.

Most of the area saw 1 to 3 inches of snowfall, with the southern parts getting the most,

But because of relatively warm temperatures, most of the snow accumulated only on grassy areas, and the streets for the most part were just wet, said Evan Bookbinder, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

The weather service had originally predicted that the snow could turn into drizzle or freezing rain on Monday afternoon but that did not materialize.

This is the area’s second winter storm of the season. Bookbinder said the area received a similar amount of snow the Dec. 20 storm but that colder temperatures let more snow build up and made that storm more treacherous for drivers.

After this snow there is no more snow or precipitation expected in the near future, and temperatures should be at or below normal for the rest of the week, Bookbinder said.

Most of the metro area remains in a state of severe drought.