KC Streetcar

Bitter cold, clouds to greet KC-area students’ return to school Friday morning

The wintry mix that caused school districts across the metro area to cancel classes Thursday has passed, and school is back in session Friday in most districts.

The National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill said Friday’s forecast calls for clouds and bitter cold with below-normal temperatures in the teens and 20s.

The wind chill could be dangerously cold in the early morning hours.

The high for Friday is expected to be 22 degrees with a wind chill factor between minus 6 and 4 degrees. The low should be around 10 degrees Friday night with a wind chill factor between zero and 5 degrees.

A second round of precipitation — mostly freezing rain and light snow — swept through the area Thursday afternoon, causing slick roads and reduced visibility. A strong cold front that surged south into the Kansas City area earlier in the day produced the snow.

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 fell across the area at the beginning of the morning commute, the roads turned 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 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 fell.

Temperatures in southern parts of the metro area were warmer. At 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.

RideKC said that while it was prepared for the possibility of ice and snow, bus riders experienced delays as road conditions worsen. It urged riders to check www.RideKC.org for updates.

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 had to tow a streetcar along the route.

Once streetcar service resumed, speeds were restricted to ensure rider safety.

Meanwhile, WCA 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.

Toriano Porter: 816-234-4779, @torianoporter