Midwestern ice storm falls short of dire predictions

Jan. 14, 2017: the Movement moves along an icing warning in the night on the I-70 west of Lawrence, Kansas.

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Wet snow and drizzle glazed parts of the central U.S. on Sunday, the enlargement of the icy weather that some meteorologists recognised fell short of dire predictions.

Much of the region remained under an ice storm warning on the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. vacation stretches continued to get pelted by rain, often in areas where the temperature hovered around the freezing point. A National Weather Service ice storm warning for the Kansas City and St. Louis areas expired Sunday afternoon when the temperature exceeded freezing. An identical warning remained in effect until Monday morning to the north, as the storm pressed in Nebraska and Iowa.

The freeze made the roads harrowing. In Kansas, near Kansas City, two troopers escaped injury when their vehicles were struck while working a crash in a northerly direction along Interstate 635. And in the center of Nebraska, authorities believe icy conditions may have contributed to a deadly crash involving two tractor-trailers shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday on Interstate 80, causing a three-hour closure of 15 miles of Interstate 80. There were no injuries.

The Nebraska State Patrol urged motorists to use extra caution as the freezing rain several roads dangerous to travel.

The authorities say that ice contributed to a southwestern Kansas wreck Saturday night death of a 35-year-old Oklahoma man injured and a number of others. The Kansas Highway Patrol said They Torres-Ocacio of Guymon, Oklahoma, died after the sport utility vehicle in which he was riding went out of control on an overpass and destroyed several times.

Some people lost power in the midst of the storm. Nearly 11,000 electric customers were without power in Oklahoma, almost all in the northwestern part of the state. Woodward County Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer said Sunday that the county was likely the hardest hit. He said that if only the power is restored, the ice that bent tree limbs starts to melt and the limbs snap back into place, sometimes knocking additional power lines.

South of Kansas City, the last round of storms dumped three-quarters of an inch of precipitation during the night, resulting in about a quarter of an inch of ice.

Jared Leighton, a National Weather Service meteorologist in the near of Kansas City, Missouri, said Sunday that while the width of the ice accumulations remained behind expectations, “that must not distract from the impact of the storm.”

“The amounts are never really in the story; the consequences were,” Leighton told The Associated Press. “The roads are still a mess, and the Highway Patrol is the have of their vehicles.”

Becky Allmeroth, a state maintenance engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said ice is “the most difficult storm to fight.”

“We keep up with the changing conditions, but it is a continual battle,” she said of the department around-the-clock scramble to the treatment of the glass roads. “The precipitation comes in waves, and we have to apply more salt.”

Many residents had prepared for the storms by stocking up on bread, milk and other necessities, and buying flashlights and generators to have on hand in case the power gets knocked out.

The storm prompted the NFL to move the AFC divisional playoff game in Kansas City between the Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday evening to have more time for the treatment of roads and parking lots at Arrowhead Stadium. The game was scheduled to kick off at noon, but was pushed back to 7:20 pm

Hours before that game, rain that continued to fall not dampen the tailgating, which was in full swing outside, where a gray tarp covered the field and warm air is pumped under the tarp to keep the turf warm. The Leaders laying of new sod on the field earlier this week.

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