Kansas City winter storm: Crews work to clear roads, restore power

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Road crews are working to clear highways and utility companies are scrambling to restore power to thousands who lost electricity Tuesday.

Road conditions were improving in eastern Kansas and western Missouri after a storm that dumped about a foot of snow on the region and killed two people in Kansas.

"Overall, we're very pleased with the progress we've made on state routes," Missouri Department of Transportation State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright said early Tuesday evening. "Across most of the state crews have cleared our high traffic routes and are now focusing on the lettered and numbered routes. We anticipate that crews will be able to make at least one pass on all state routes before tomorrow morning."

But state road officials are still urging caution to anyone looking to hit the highways.

"We urge everyone to avoid travel and be extremely cautious if you must be on the roads," said Col. Ernest Garcia, superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol.

A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect for much of Kansas and Missouri until Wednesday evening.

SEE CURRENT WEATHER ALERTS | http://bit.ly/ZgSaV0

MoDOT warned roads that were cleared during the day Tuesday may once again become snow-covered overnight. Highways that are clear now may have ramps or bridges that are icy in spots.

"I would encourage everyone to continue to use caution, give our snow plows and equipment plenty of room, and check on road conditions before they travel," Wright said.

Power outages have been reported across the metro area. The Kansas City Power & Light outage map shows more than 7,290 customers without power - down from about 94,000 at one point.

Katie McDonald, a KCP&L spokeswoman, said one problem for crews working to restore power was trees coming down during the day. Some lost power a second time when trees fell after having already been restored once.

The utility's crews have been working since the snow began falling Monday night, with new crews coming in Tuesday evening that will work through the night, McDonald said.

Even with teams working around the clock, some without power were likely to remain so until Wednesday, McDonald said.

Power out? Shelter opens for those in the dark http://bit.ly/WpOdag

Kansas City ended up with varying amounts of snowfall. The National Weather Service at Pleasant Hill, Mo., recorded 13 inches. Weather bloggers in Lenexa, Kan, and Shawnee, Kan., reported about 10 inches.Overland Park saw about 9 inches and at the 41  Action News studios near the Plaza, we got about 8 inches.

Totals were considerably lower, because as Gary explained Tuesday morning in his blog , temperatures hovered closer to freezing than was anticipated.

RELATED | Gary's Blog; Tuesday Afternoon Update & Snow Totals http://weatherblog.kshb.com/

At least two traffic fatalities were blamed on the winter weather in Kansas. A man from Kansas City, Kan., died early Monday in an accident on Interstate 70 near the Colorado border.

"Unfortunately, we lost a second life overnight because of slick roads," Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said in a statement Tuesday.

The second crash occurred on I-70 near mile marker 151 in Ellis County at approximately 7:42 p.m. Monday.

Kirstin R. Nelson , 28, of Ellis, Kan., was killed in the crash, on I-70 near mile marker 151 just west of Hays.

The Kansas State Highway Patrol says she was a passenger in a car driven by her husband, 31-year-old Eric J. Nelson. The truck slid on the icy road and rolled.

Eric Nelson, the couple's 5-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old passenger were injured. They were taken to area hospitals but the extent of their injuries was not available.

RELATED | KCI cancels flights, advises advance planning http://bit.ly/YT5mdZ

Sedalia authorities said a roof partially collapsed at a call center in the 2500 block of E. 9th St., just before 7 a.m. No one was inside at the time or injured.

In Belton, Mo., 41 Action News Reporter Garrett Haake was in front of the camera when a roof collapsed at the Eagles Club.

The storm started producing some light snow in Kansas City by 4 p.m. Monday. The second band, which is lasted about 15 hours, had hit the city about 8:30 p.m.

Thunder and lightning were reported in several areas of the Kansas City metro Monday night, a phenomenon dubbed "Thundersnow" that 41 Action Weather Chief Meteorologist Gary Lezak says usually an indicator that a heavy snow is coming.

The heaviest snowfall occurred between 12 a.m. and 9 a.m., with tapering flurries for the next several hours.

LIST | Kansas City's 10 biggest single-day snow totals http://bit.ly/VGaLGl

Rural areas in Kansas may have taken the worst of the latest winter blast.

In southern and southeastern Kansas, snow collected

in high drifts and on power lines, some of which came down. Westar spokesman Shane Batchelder said Tuesday that power outages are predominantly in outlying areas where rural road conditions are worst and hindering the ability to get to downed lines and frozen equipment.

National Weather Service meteorologist Vanessa Pearce says Kingman County received 10.5 inches of new snow with snow-drifted roads. Wichita received nearly 7 inches.

This storm brought less snow than last week's blast, but caused more damage because of the wind.

The region is still dusting off the foot of snow that fell just a few days ago. Thursday's storm closed airports and caused numerous accidents. Totals from that snowstorm included 18 inches in the southern Kansas town of Zenda; 17 inches in Hays, Kansas; about 13 inches in northeast Missouri and 12 inches of snow in parts of Kansas City.

The storm dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of Oklahoma on Monday, and high winds caused whiteout conditions that slowed road-clearing efforts.

Schools and major highways in the Texas Panhandle were closed for a second day.

The Associated Press Contributed to this Report

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