Blizzard Closes Out The Long Holiday Weekend In Kansas And Missouri
The blizzard only lasted a few hours, but it dropped inches of snow and wreaked plenty of havoc Sunday, closing 235 miles of Interstate 70 in Kansas for several hours and playing a role in accidents in Kansas and Missouri.
School cancellations started to pile up Sunday night, including the University of Kansas and UMKC.
"I-70 is ice packed and snow covered and visability is minimal to nothing," Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Gardner said midday in a Twitter video. "Today is a day of staying home and being safe."
A portion of Interstate 29 from Mound City, Missouri, to the Iowa border was closed into the evening.
Westar Energy and KCPL, which have merged, peaked at 67,000 outages.
The National Weather Service said Kansas City International Airport received 5.3 inches, but totals ranged across the region. The blizzard warning, which the NWS said was the first in Kansas City since Jan. 31, 2011, stretched south from the Missouri state line to Olathe, west to beyond Topeka and east to Macon, Missouri.
Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer issued a state of disaster emergency declaration Sunday afternoon.
"We strongly recommend that you postpone travel plans," Colyer said in a statement, which added that the Kansas National Guard has Stranded Motorists Assistance Response Teams in nine locations throughout the state.
The Missouri Department of Transportation was prepared for a long, difficult day. At about 1 p.m., it tweeted, "The heavy band of snow is starting to reach us. It will take everything we have to clear the interstates and (major roadways)."
Operations at Kansas City International Airport slowed at about noon Sunday, and shut down completely three hours later. Dozens of flights were cancelled but the airport resumed flights by early evening.
As the storm headed east, Westar/KCPL had whittled down the number of customers without power.
"We expect for some customers it will be late afternoon to Monday evening before power is restored," utility spokeswoman Gina Penzig told KCUR. “The roads are difficult to travel. It’s hard to get to the outages where we need make repairs."
The hardest-hit areas were in Atchison, Leavenworth and Ottawa, all in Kansas.