KDOT, MoDOT warn travelers of icy road condition over the weekend
Road crews around the Kansas City region spent Friday preparing for another Arctic blast that is expected to cover major interstates, highways, rural roads and residential streets with snow and ice.
Unlike last week’s storm, the forecast calls for rain to change over into freezing rain and then give way to several inches of snow.
A week ago, the region was blanketed with several inches of heavy, wet snow that collected on electrical wires, tree limbs and vegetation, causing massive power outages that lasted for several days.
“Last week’s storm was perfect for us because the temperatures were right around freezing, it never got super cold for us and we were able to plow it off really quickly,” Lynelle Luther, Kansas City district maintenance engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation, said Friday.
“This storm is pretty much the opposite of that,” Luther said.
This weekend’s snow accumulation totals are expected to be lower than last week’s storm. But the conditions will be harsher.
Due to the snow, some schools around the metro, including Kansas City Public Schools, made the decision Friday to cancel or postpone games, athletic practices and extracurricular activities that were supposed to take place Saturday.
A winter weather advisory has been issued for Kansas City beginning at 6 p.m. Friday and continuing through 3 p.m. Saturday. Rain is expected to change over to snow after 10 p.m. on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
Nearly 300 snow-plowing trucks from Kansas and Missouri are expected to work throughout Friday evening into Saturday morning to ensure the highways are clear of snow and ice.
“Anytime that you have the single digit temperatures, it is harder on the equipment,” Luther said.
Motorists are again encouraged to plan ahead. Be sure their vehicles have plenty of gas; monitor social media, dress in layers and stay clear of the snow plowing road crews.
Roads were not pretreated on Friday due to expected 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.
The Kansas Highway Patrol announced Friday that it 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.
Drivers should expect slick roads, bridges and overpasses, making travel hazardous, said Laurie Arellano, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Transportation.
“We are really asking the public to plan to encounter ice,” Arellano said.
By preparing to encounter icy roads, motorists can help transportation workers from having to deal with slide-offs and vehicular mishaps.
Last week, the Missouri Highway Patrol responded to over 800 calls for service in the Kansas City area. There were 160 crashes that resulted in ten injuries.
“It was deadly weekend. There were three weather-related fatalities,” said Sgt. Collin Stosberg, spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol Troop A. “When this weather event moves in, do not get out in it until the roads are treated and safe. Stay home.”
Temperatures overnight Friday will dip into the 20s and be accompanied by blowing snow. Accumulation will be somewhere between two and four inches.
The snow is forecast to continue Saturday morning with temperatures only reaching the upper teens.
On Sunday, additional troopers will be on hand to help the Kansas City Police Department with traffic in and around Arrowhead, Stosberg said.
Reporter Kaitlyn Schwers contributed to this report.