Winter Storm Warning: Travel discouraged as road crews prep for major snowstorm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Road crews will be ready when a potentially-dangerous winter storm hits the Kansas City area on Thursday, but it's ultimately out of their hands, a Kansas Department of Transportation official says.

"At this point we are doing our best to prep for the storm," KDOT Assistant Bureau Chief in Construction and Maintenance Peter Carttar said this week, "and when it hits we know we have done what we can to prepare and the rest is up to Mother Nature."

That's why state road officials in Kansas and Missouri are urging motorists to stay off the roads Thursday. The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings across Kansas and Missouri effective through Thursday night.

Snow, sleet and freezing rain are possible locally, 41 Action Weather Chief Meteorologist Gary Lezak says.

The multi-faceted attack of this storm leaves drivers at risk because roads can become covered with both snow and ice as it moves through the area, the Missouri Department of Transportation said in a statement Wednesday morning.

Gary says five to 10 inches of snow are possible in Kansas City, with some areas to the south seeing the bulk of the freezing rain.

Not only will the wintry mix be treacherous for road crews trying to keep up with the storm, but the duration of the storm is going to pose problems as well.

Precipitation may continue through the evening rush hour into the late evening hours, Gary says.

"We know this is going to be a tough one," Carttar said. "The way that the public can help us is by staying home. If you don't have to drive, then don't."

If you can't heed the warnings to stay off the roads, state officials urge you to at least be prepared. Take a cell phone and some blankets, extra clothing and food. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle and call 911.

The departments of transportation have detailed winter storm information on their websites, including maps, lists of closed roads and resources to get you through the storm.

Links to those, and other useful winter weather websites can be found on www.KSHB.com/winter.

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