Local officials are advising residents to take care during a large snowstorm expected to begin late today.
The National Weather Service has posted a winter storm watch from 6 p.m. today through 6 a.m. Monday, as a storm rolling this way from the west is forecast to bring 4 to 8 inches of sleet and snow, and bitter cold. As the storm nears and more information is known, the Weather Service could shift that watch to a warning.
The city of Independence posted an advisory Friday suggesting people limit travel as much as possible. Road crews will be challenged to keep up with the storm, the city says.
Also from the city:
• Parked cars make it more difficult for snowplow drivers to do their work. Try not to park on the street. If you do, park on the north side of east-west streets and on the west side of north-south streets.
• Police expect more wrecks. If you’re in one, call 816-325-7300 to report it. If there are injuries or the wrecked vehicles are blocking the road, call the police right away and wait for help. If there are no injuries and the vehicles are driveable, exchange names and insurance information, and walk the report into the police station later.
• As always, don’t park near fire hydrants. If there’s one near your home, shovel away the snow to keep it visible and accessible.
The storm figures to be a doozy. Precipitation – probably sleet – starts late this afternoon in the metro area and intensifies this evening, then redevelops Sunday and ends by midnight, forecasters say. The Weather Service forecast for Eastern Jackson County is 5 to 8 inches of accumulation, but forecasters caution that that could vary widely even over short distances. A lot of it depends on how much comes down as sleet and how much as snow. Significant sleet is possible south of Interstate 70, and some places could get an inch of it.
“A combination of bitterly cold Arctic air at the surface and significantly warmer air aloft will result in an unusually complex setup over the region,” the Weather Service says.
Roads are expected to be snowy and icy, and the wind Sunday will reduce visibility.
It’s also going to be bitterly cold, with wind chills expected to be 10 below to 20 below by early Monday morning.
The Weather Service forecast for Eastern Jackson County:
• Twenty percent chance of freezing drizzle and sleet after 3 p.m., then a 100 percent chance of snow and sleet tonight. Accumulation of 2 to 4 inches. Tonight’s low is around 6, the wind will make it feel like minus 1 to minus 11.
• Sunday, 100 percent chance of snow, possibly mixed with sleet in the morning. Another 3 to 5 inches of accumulation. A high of 7 plus a north-northeast wind of 15 to 17 mph mean wind chills of minus 8 to minus 13. There’s a 40 percent chance of snow in the evening. The low is about minus 6, close to a record.
• Monday is very cold, though it’s sunny and clear. The wind chill could be well below zero around the time children are getting on the school bus. The high is 12, and it gets back down to 3 Monday night.
• High in the upper 20s Tuesday, the upper 30s Wednesday – maybe with a little snow or rain – the mid-40s Thursday and the low 50s on Friday.
It’s possible some area records could fall during this storm. The record lows for Kansas City are minus 1 for March 1 (in 1962), minus 7 for March 2 (1980) and minus 1 for March 3 (1978). It would take a lot of snow to break daily records, which are 4.6 inches for March 1 (1953), 8.6 for March 2 (1960) and 6.2 inches for March 3 (1952).