KC evening commute could be dicey as freezing drizzle lingers; more rain to come

Round two of winter weather will add to drivers’ headaches

Patches of ice on Kansas City Streets led to a number of accidents on Wednesday just as a second round of winter weather is slated to hit the metro area.
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Patches of ice on Kansas City Streets led to a number of accidents on Wednesday just as a second round of winter weather is slated to hit the metro area.

Patchy freezing drizzle lingered across northern Kansas City Thursday afternoon as more rain and freezing rain moved into the area in time for the evening commute.

"We do have another (storm) system that is moving in from the southwest and that should be here" Thursday afternoon, said Jenni Laflin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill. That system could bring both rain and freezing rain.

"The freezing line is in Kansas City right now, so areas at 32 degrees or a little bit above should see just regular rain. But, especially for the northwestern half of metro, we could see some slick spots as that comes down."

Temperatures are expected to continue to warm up into the evening, so there shouldn't be a lot of additional ice accumulation.

"Even if it does start warming up a little bit, those elevated surfaces can still be slick," Laflin said.

Drives should still use caution on the evening commute.

"Even if your car thermometer says the temperature is above freezing, it could still be slick right at the road surface," she said.

The rain should be light as it moves through the Kansas City area. There might be patches or bursts of moderate rain, Laflin said.

The rain will be on and off throughout the rest of Thursday, coming to an end between midnight and 2 a.m. Friday.

Temperatures are expected to remain above freezing until the rain ends. They might dip around freezing by Friday morning.

For Friday morning's commute, drivers can expect mainly wet roads with a few slick spots.

Another storm system will move in Friday night, possibly starting out as freezing rain or a wintry mix. Temperatures on Saturday will quickly rise above freezing with any precipitation quickly switching over to all rain. Saturday will be rainy with an isolated thunderstorm possible.

Sunday is looking pretty nice, Laflin said. It will likely be a clear day with temperatures reaching about 50 degrees.

That will be a big change from Thursday, where freezing drizzle fell early, coating the Kansas City area with a glaze of ice, especially on untreated roads, sidewalks and parking lots.

Many school districts across the metro area canceled classes because of the inclement weather, including Blue Springs, Blue Valley, Center, Grandview, Independence, Kansas City, Kan., North Kansas City, Park Hill, Olathe and Shawnee Mission.

Kansas City public schools, however, announced that it will be having classes Thursday.

Find a list of closures and other delays due to inclement weather.

At Kansas City International Airport, about two dozen flights morning flights were canceled and another eight delayed because of the weather.

The National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill said that light icing from sleet and snow overnight left behind a minimum of a glaze of ice on surfaces across the area.

Areas north of a line from Kansas City to Kirksville picked up more sleet and snow as stronger showers moved across that area.

Accumulations were expected to be less than .15 of an inch. The glaze of ice, however, made getting around Thursday a bit treacherous.

I-35 northbound didn’t seem to pose any major problems Thursday morning as a steady drizzle fell over Kansas City.

Kansas City Fire Department responded to a water rescue about 7:10 a.m. after a pickup truck slid into a pond near 14220 Wyandotte Street. The driver was pulled from the truck. Leawood police investigated the accident because the pond was in Leawood.

Following a rescue, Leawood police keep an eye on a truck that apparently slid into a pond near 142nd Street and Wyandotte in Leawood.

RideKC reported that buses ran regular routes and most were on schedule. Less than a handful were running 5 to 10 minutes late.

“Icy sidewalks are a danger this morning,” RideKC said via Twitter. “Please be careful walking to stops and stepping on and off buses.”

The paratransit service RideKC Freedom was in Phase B of its inclement weather plan because of slick conditions on side streets and sidewalks.

Significant delays were occurring system wide with some customers experiencing delays of more than 60 minutes past their scheduled pickup times.

Riders with non-essential travel were encouraged to reschedule their trips at 816-842-9070.

Kansas City Streetcar said it was running with regular hours after overnight crews worked to keep the tracks and overhead wires cleared of ice.

Overland Park traffic camera videos show the dangers of slick, icy streets. The clips from the city's network of traffic cameras show what can happen when drivers are not careful in winter weather.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

Kaitlyn Schwers: 816-234-7909, @kaitlynschwers

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