1. What are the differences between the incoming storm system and the one from Monday and Tuesday?
There will be less precipitation, but air and pavement temperatures will be much colder. It is also occurring mostly at night. So, these three factors create a greater likelihood for slick roads. In the system from Monday and Tuesday, we saw the precipitation switch back and forth between freezing rain (liquid water freezing on contact with the surface) and sleet (frozen raindrops that bounce off surfaces). This system will be more orderly as the precipitation will likely start as sleet with some snow mixed in and then change to freezing rain. Once it changes to freezing rain it will stay freezing rain.
2. When will the roads get slick?
The precipitation arrives in Kansas City from the south between 10 p.m. and midnight. So, the roads will get slick just minutes after the onset of the freezing rain and sleet. Treated roads may hold a bit longer, but anything untreated becomes a mess very fast with temperatures in the mid 20s. If you live south of Kansas City, then the precipitation will begin between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
3. Will there be school closings?
If the forecast pans out and confidence is high, then, yes there will likely be many if not all schools closed.
4. Will there be power outages?
There may be sporadic power outages, but keep in mind, it takes a minimum 1/2" of freezing rain glazed on power lines to begin the widespread power outage process. We are expecting 1/10" to 1/4" of ice and some of this will be sleet, which does not stick to power lines. Also, there will be very little wind during the event and this helps reduce power outages.
5. Will it still be slick for the Thursday morning rush hour?
Yes, even treated roads may be slick as the freezing rain and sleet will last until 10 to 11 a.m.
6. Will road conditions improve for the Thursday evening rush hour?
Yes, they should as temperatures rise to around 32 degrees. We expect there to be drizzle and rain showers at that time. If temperatures don't rise to 32 degrees and above, then slick spots are more likely, especially on bridges and overpasses.
7. Will Friday still be icy?
As it stands now, we expect temperatures to drift up to just above freezing, so any ice should start to melt and this will limit school closings as well. If the temperatures stay below 32 degrees until Friday afternoon, then it could be a different story.
8. I hear there is another storm system for Friday night and Saturday, more ice?
There are strong indications we will be on the warm side of this storm and highs may climb to the 50s Saturday. So, right now it looks like all rain.
9. When does the weather calm down?
We will get a break from Sunday into early next week, but the active pattern looks likely to continue into the first two weeks of March.