Public safety officials are urging caution as another round of winter weather moves through the area.
The National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill has issued a winter storm warning through 3 p.m. today, with overnight snow likely to snarl roadways this morning.
Andy Bailey, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, told reporters Monday morning that snow will likely move through our area between midnight and 9 a.m. today, with at least six inches and potentially more than a foot of snow falling in the area by this afternoon. In addition, 20 to 25 mph winds could cause whiteout conditions through the day.
Bailey said the combination of snow and wind will make it “very dangerous for travel.”
“Conditions are not the same, but we should end up with as much or more snow as we did (Thursday),” Bailey said, noting there will be “huge impacts, making most roads impassible.”
A midday NWS update projected “the heaviest amounts are expected to be from the south side of the Kansas City metropolitan area eastward into central Missouri, generally along a line from Paola, Kan. to Harrisonville and Sedalia.”
Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Clippert stressed the point Monday afternoon, saying “the No. 1 priority is to stay off the roads.”
“I understand that is not possible for everyone,” Clippert said. “But, if you don’t have to be out, don’t.”
Capt. Tim Hull, with the Missouri Highway Patrol in Jefferson City, said those who must drive should allow “plenty of extra time” to reach their destination safely.
“That extra time allows you to clear your car completely so you have full visibility. It also allows time to get to your destination at a slow, safe speed,” Hull said.
He reminded motorists that Missouri law requires motorists to have their headlights on if they are using their windshield wipers, and to yield to emergency vehicles and plows.
“Any time we get weather like this with blowing snow, visibility becomes an issue, regardless of how slick the pavement is. That is something else you have to watch and plan for. Turning on your headlights helps other vehicles see you. That is a tremendous asset to have,” Hull said.
He also urged motorists to allow plenty of distance if following a snow plow.
“They are out there trying to clear the way, so keep your distance from them. There is no telling what obstacle they may have to go around,” Hull said.
In general, Hull said, motorists should prepare for winter weather ahead of time by having a mechanic check their vehicle’s battery, heater, defroster, lights, hoses, belts, brakes, oil, tires, wipers, and fluid levels.
Motorists should also travel with an ice scraper, tire chains, battery booster cables, blankets, flashlight, and a bag of sand to place in the trunk.
Missouri’s Road Condition Report (1-888-275-6636) and MoDOT’s Road Condition Map, available at mshp.dps.mo.gov, are good tools to use before taking to the roads, Hull said.
Clippert said that widespread power outages are not expected with the storm, but “we may have some isolated issues.”
He said people should avoid operating gas-powered generators in their garage, or using a charcoal grill to cook inside the house due to the possible build up of carbon monoxide gas or smoke inside the house.
“Driving is the main issue and it is likely to be treacherous,” Clippert said. “The best thing to do is just stay home, sit back and wait it out.”
—Democrat Editor Bob Satnan also contributed to this report.