Update: The National Weather Service has upgraded the Kansas City area from a winter weather advisory to a winter storm warning. The warning is expected to be in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday. The weather service is warning of heavy snow Friday night with accumulations of 4 to 6 inches in parts of east-central Kansas and west-central Missouri.
The advice is simple for Kansas City Chiefs tailgaters and other motorists hitting the roads in and around the metro this weekend: Plan ahead.
The National Weather Service expects the Kansas City area to begin seeing snow late Friday afternoon. The metro area could see 2 to 3 inches of snow by Saturday morning and a total of 4 to 6 inches by Saturday afternoon.
That means traffic along highways and major thoroughfares traveling into Arrowhead Stadium could be delayed.
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“I would advise everyone to plan ahead, know what the weather forecast is, leave plenty early so that you would have of time to drive at a reasonable pace based on the weather conditions and just leave yourself plenty of time,” Lynelle Luther, Kansas City district maintenance engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation, said Friday.
As many as 190 snow plow trucks and other equipment are expected to be used overnight Friday, during the peak of the snow storm. Transportation officials urged motorists to give workers plenty of room.
“They are out there to do their job so people can get to the playoff game or where ever they need to go,” Luther said.
The agency is expected to be fully staffed Friday evening with additional crews working during the snow storm.
“This is definitely business as usual; this is not our first rodeo,” Marcus Slaughter, incident management coordinator with MoDOT, said. “We have had snow before and we are going to attack it like we usually do.”
Roads were not pretreated on Friday due to the rain, sleet and warm temperatures. Any materials to melt the ice and snow would be washed away by the rain and sleet, according to MoDOT.
On Saturday, extra attention will be paid to the highways near and leading into Arrowhead.
“There is a slight challenge because we know there will be a timing issue with the start of the game and the gates opening,” Luther said. “That is a little extra layer of our planning but as far as playoff game versus not playoff game, we plow all of our interstates and our majors first. That is going to be our focus. That dovetails nicely because Chiefs fans come from all over the place.”
The Kansas Highway Patrol announced Friday that they will tow any vehicles abandoned that are in the way of snow plowing crews.
Motorists whose vehicles have been removed are urged to call the highway patrol to find out where their vehicles were taken. They will have to pay a towing expense before their vehicles are released, according to the highway patrol.
Winter Storm Warnings and advisories have been issued across Kansas and Missouri as well. Snow totals will range from 3 to 5 inches across eastern Kansas to 5 to 8 inches across central and eastern Missouri.
Drivers should expect slick roads, making travel hazardous. Those driving on I-70 will likely see more snow as they head east toward St. Louis.
Precipitation in the Kansas City metro area started Friday morning with rain and a high temperature in the low 40s.
Later Friday afternoon and evening the rain turns into a mix of snow, which will change to all snow by Friday night. Most of the accumulating snow will fall late Friday through Saturday afternoon. The low will be near 31 overnight.
The high temperature on Saturday will be near 33.
MoDOT advises that motorists make sure they have a full tank of gas and pack a blanket and snack in case they find themselves delayed in traffic.