Weather

Freezing rain leaves hazardous road conditions, motorists urged to stay home

School bus rolls over on icy street in south Kansas City

Three students suffered minor injuries Wednesday when the school bus they were riding in overturned on an icy street in southeast Kansas City. The crash occurred in an apartment complex near President Court and Virginia Avenue.
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Three students suffered minor injuries Wednesday when the school bus they were riding in overturned on an icy street in southeast Kansas City. The crash occurred in an apartment complex near President Court and Virginia Avenue.

Freezing drizzle and icy conditions blanketed the Kansas City region Thursday, adding another layer to a frustrating winter that has featured bone chilling temperatures, slick roads and a collective wish for an early spring.

School children and college students received a day off from classes as numerous school districts, both public and private, announced Wednesday evening that classes were canceled.

A number of churches, municipalities and some courthouses announced they had either closed for the day or would delay opening.

Kansas City officials reported that road crews worked overnight and will continue through the day to clear slick roads. Residential areas will be plowed during the day.

Kansas City Power & Light showed fewer than 100 households were without electrical power.

A passer-by stopped to assist a motorist who got stuck going up a hill on southbound Antioch Road near 108th Terrace in Overland Park Thursday morning. Freezing rain and sleet that fell overnight made for hazardous driving in the Kansas City metro.

The area remains under an ice storm warning until noon. Significant icing that began overnight stretched into Thursday morning, making travel slow and somewhat hazardous.

A widespread wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow will gradually pass through from west to east during the morning, said Scott Blair of the National Weather Service.

Kansas City police said there have been 102 traffic wrecks reported in the past 24 hours as of Thursday morning. That number includes both injury and non-injury crashes where an officer has responded, said Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jacob Becchina.

Motorists involved in minor collisions where no one is injured are encouraged to exchange license, insurance and contact information and file an accident report at one of the Police Department’s six division stations.

Drivers can call the non-emergency phone line and a call taker will instruct them about whether they should walk their report in or an officer will need to be dispatched, Becchina said.

“People are reminded due to higher than normal call volume for accidents, and road conditions that police response may be more delayed than normal,” he said. “If you don’t have to be out and about today please remain at home indoors.”

Impacts will continue through much of the day, with ice-covered roads and increasing northwest winds raising the potential for tree damage and power outages. Hazardous road conditions have developed, especially on secondary roadways, bridges, overpasses, and any untreated surface, Blair said.

Road crews with the Missouri Department of Transportation worked overnight clearing as much as they could, using salt brine and rock salt, said Markl Johnson, an agency spokesman.

“The tough part is it’s not like snow where they can just push it to the side and clear a path,” Johnson said. “The majority of the roads are covered.”

While many roads are drivable, motorists are encourage to stay home or take it slow and use caution, he said.

“If you can’t use extreme caution, give yourself plenty of time,” Johnson said.

It will take until about noon to get roads treated for better travel, said Laurie A. Arellano, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Transportation.

“A layer of ice is under the snow, we have to get it plowed down to pavement and get salt on it, then the pavement temps have to come up,” Arellano said.

Precipitation is expected to end from late morning through early afternoon, then windy and cold conditions are expected for the remainder of the day and tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

The wintry conditions will contribute to ice-covered roadways bridges, overpasses, and any untreated surfaces. High winds may cause power outages.

By Wednesday afternoon, most of the Kansas City area had received between .125 and .25 of an inch of ice from persistent rounds of freezing rain and drizzle over the previous 24 to 36 hours, according to the weather service.

Icy roads in a southeast Kansas City neighborhood caused a school bus on Wednesday to slide and roll on its side near the Village Apartments. Three students and adults on board suffered minor injuries. The crash was captured on surveillance video.

Dr. Todd Dain, Principal at Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park, shared a video of himself falling on the ice when he stepped out of his vehicle Wednesday.

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Glenn E. Rice covers crime, courts and breaking news for The Kansas City Star, where he’s worked since 1988. Rice is a Kansas City native and a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.

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