By STEVE GANEY
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — Snow began to fall Tuesday morning across the Warrensburg area, which caused widespread school closings and made driving conditions dangerous.
The National Weather Service said the snowfall is expected to affect the majority of the state by early Tuesday afternoon.
Seven to 10 inches of snow is expected to accumulate across much of Johnson County. A Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service remains in effect until 9 a.m. Wednesday for the Warrensburg area.
The storm comes after a weekend of freezing rain left much of Warrensburg coated in ice. A bout of freezing rain on Friday, Jan. 31 led to numerous traffic accidents.
Sgt. Bill Lowe, a public information officer with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said there were 132 wrecks across the Kansas City metro area over the weekend. The accidents caused 38 injuries and one fatality.
“It’s unfortunate, but pretty typical for this time of year,” Lowe said, referring to the number of accidents.
Lowe said the Highway Patrol is expecting more accidents as the new storm moves in.
Nathan Tenny, a resident of Columbia, Mo., was driving on Interstate 70 on Friday when the ice hit. While Tenny was lucky enough to make it to his destination without incident, he said he saw plenty who were not so lucky.
“It was bad. You couldn’t drive more than a mile without seeing two or three cars in the ditch,” Tenny said. “I just kept a steady, slow pace and tried to stay on the road, but I slid a few times.”
Warrensburg Fire and Prevention Officer Jeremy VanWey said the fire department has not responded to any reports of traffic accidents as of Tuesday morning.
“I think most people are just hunkering down, staying off the roads,” VanWey said. “Schools are closed, and a lot of businesses didn’t open today. I’m glad people seem to be taking it seriously.”
While the morning has been relatively quiet, VanWey said the fire department has added additional personnel to crews and expects some calls in the afternoon.
Director of Johnson County Emergency Management Gloria Michalsky said the morning has also been calm for her department, but she attributes at least some of that to the work her office has done in preparation for the snow.
“We’ve been working over the last 24 hours to get ready,” Michalsky said. “We had a conference call with the Nation Weather Service yesterday to know what to expect. So we sent out a press release, and we’ve been keeping folks informed on our Facebook page about school and business closings to make sure folks are off the roads so MoDOT crews can get their work done.”
The Highway Patrol responded to an accident involving a truck carrying ethanol, which slid off Interstate 29 near St. Joseph around 4 a.m. Tuesday. The accident cut off both southbound lanes until 6:30 a.m., when one lane was reopened. The driver was not injured.