Brutal cold freezes Kansas City as wind chills fall into -20s; light snow possible

Kansas City woke up to brutal cold Wednesday morning as an arctic blast sent temperatures tumbling and created dangerous wind chills across the area.

As temperatures plummeted to the single digits below zero at Kansas City International Airport, northerly winds with gusts around 25 mph made it feel more like -25 degrees early Wednesday.

It was much colder near the Missouri-Iowa border, where wind chill values were as low as -40 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.

With wind chills this cold, exposed skin is susceptible to frostbite within 10 minutes.

The dangerously cold wind chills had area school districts canceling classes again this winter season. Some of the major districts canceling classes included Kansas City, Park Hill, Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley.

The U.S. Postal Service at one point said it would suspend regular mail service in Kansas and Missouri because of the dangerous temperatures and bitter wind chills.

The postal service, however, changed course and said there will be normal mail delivery Wednesday in Kansas and Missouri.

Delivery will be suspended in some other states in the Midwest.

wind chill photo
National Weather Service

The metro will not see much relief from the cold Wednesday. The temperature at 6 a.m. at KCI was -4 degrees with a wind chill of -21 degrees.

The high temperatures for the day was expected to be 7 degrees, which would tie the record lowest high temperature for this date set in 1951.

In addition to the cold, a quick-moving storm system will bring a chance of snow to northeast Kansas and northeast and north-central Missouri this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Up to an inch of snow is possible by 6 p.m.. The snow will likely fall in the Kansas City area between 2 and 5 p.m., according to the weather service.

The snow could make the trip home hazardous because of reduced visibility and slick roads, the weather service warned.

Temperatures overnight are expected to remain in the single digits in the Kansas City area. Wind chill values will be around -5 degrees by Thursday morning.

Northern Missouri will still see dangerously cold wind chill values between -24 and -15 degrees Thursday morning.

Temperatures, however, will make a steady climb, rising above freezing Thursday and reaching into the 50s Saturday and low 60s on Sunday.

A light rain and drizzle is possible Saturday and Sunday.

Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers breaking news about crime, transportation and weather at the crack of dawn. He’s been at The Star since 1987 and now contributes data reporting and video editing.