KANSAS CITY, Missouri - The first phase of a massive winter storm that could affect up to 100 million people nationwide snarled morning commuters Monday north of Kansas City and caused some slick spots closer to home as freezing drizzle left a layer of ice on roadways.
Up north, the freezing rain was blamed on at least two overturned tractor trailers that had authorties re-route traffic on Interstate 29 near St. Joseph Monday morning, in Kansas City, a bus slid off the roadway into a pole and was then struck by a firetruck that slid off the road.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol urged commuters not to drive anywhere north of the Platte-Buchanan County line as most roads there and north were completely ice-covered.
Winter storm warnings for the entire viewing area were posted beginning early Monday and lasting through Wednesday morning.
Dozens of schools in northwestern Missouri, including Missouri Western in St. Joseph and Northwest Missouri in Maryville, called off classes for the day, and several more were calling off class early as the drizzle continued through the morning.
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NBC Action Weather Meteorologist Brett Anthony said this system, which by its end will have blanketed the majority of the Midwest and portions of the northeast, could dump upwards of 20 inches of snow Tuesday to portions of Missouri and could bring travel to a stop throughout a much more-widespread area.
Brett said the light freezing rain was to continue through the morning and we may see some light snow flurries later Monday, but Tuesday is what we really need to look out for.
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Brett says we could see 10 to 13 inches of snow right here in Kansas City from the snowfall that is expected to begin around 8 a.m. Tuesday and could produce blizzard-like conditions throughout the day.
Road crews on both sides of the state line aren't waiting around to start working on the highways.
Kansas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kim Qualls says crews have been out since late Sunday night pre-treating roads to take care of the first phase of freezing rain.