KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An anticipated winter storm had already dropped heavy snow over much of Kansas and parts of Missouri by early Wednesday, with weather forecasters warning that the snow is only expected to intensify throughout the day.
The National Weather Service expected the heaviest snow to fall in central Missouri, with up to 14 inches (35.6 centimeters) predicted in Columbia and surrounding areas by midday Thursday. Areas around Wichita had already seen as much as 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of snow by 6 a.m. Wednesday, while Topeka reported nearly 4 inches (10.16 centimeters).
The storm system also threatened high winds of up to 35 mph (56.3 kph) and arctic temperatures, leading the weather service to issue an advisory warning of wind chills as low as 20 below zero (29 degrees Celsius below zero).
The dire warnings led school officials to cancel in-person classes across the region for Wednesday and Thursday, canceled hundreds of flights and saw Amtrak shut down its trains between St. Louis and Kansas City for Wednesday and Thursday. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency and activated the Missouri National Guard ahead of the storm.