Winter’s crushing blow levels snow-weary KC area

02/28/2013 8:41 AM

02/28/2013 8:41 AM

This time the snow came heavy and wet, caving in some roofs, bending and breaking trees and downing power lines, putting thousands in the dark.

More than 100,000 customers lost power at some point during the morning hours as parts of the metro area got their second dose of up to a foot of snow.

A brother and sister in Kansas City, Kan., were found dead Tuesday, apparently from carbon monoxide poisoning. Their home in the 5100 block of Kimball Avenue had been without electrical power, and a gasoline-powered generator in the basement garage was hooked up to operate appliances. Two small dogs also were killed in the home.

The names of the 58-year-old man and the 69-year-old woman were not immediately released.

The brunt of the storm, like Thursday’s snow, hit the southern part of the Kansas City area. Snowfall ranged from 10 to 12 inches across Johnson County to Lee’s Summit, and around 8 inches north of the Missouri River, the National Weather Service reported.

The heaviest band hit from Pleasant Hill to Warrensburg, where totals reached 13 to 14 inches.

Combining Thursday’s storm with Tuesday’s, the metro area received total snowfall amounts ranging from 16 to 25 inches.

The normal amount of snow for an entire year is about 18 inches.

By late Tuesday morning the system had moved out, leaving the area with only the threat of light flurries the rest of the way.

And after that?

“There is nothing on the horizon we can see that would bring another storm like these,” said Andy Bailey, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill. “As we get into March, it gets less and less likely we’ll see these sorts of systems. Each day is another day closer to spring.”

The good news with Tuesday’s snow is that most people stayed home and avoided creating the massive traffic snarls that forced hundreds of motorists to abandon their cars, blocking the work of snowplows and overwhelming fleets of tow trucks in last week’s snow.

But there were plenty of problems.

Some cars and trucks that did venture out slid off roadways, including some snowplows. Roads remained treacherous throughout the morning, but few were blocked.

It helped that the heavy snow had already coated the area as people awoke, said Steve Porter, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Transportation. With Thursday’s road disasters fresh on everyone’s minds, it was an easy call for those who could to stay home this time.

Highways and major roadways were mostly cleared by midafternoon. Kansas City reported all major roads cleared and half of the residential streets done.

The storm was taxing plow crews in Johnson County, prompting the cities of Olathe, Overland Park, Shawnee and Lenexa to issue a joint statement asking people for patience.

Olathe spokesman Tim Danneberg said the city relies heavily on smaller trucks to plow residential streets and about 1,500 cul-de-sacs.

“This snow is so deep and so heavy it is really slowing down not only our smaller trucks but also our bigger trucks,” Danneberg said.

Shawnee cautioned residents that it might take until Friday to reach some areas.

Area Transportation Authority bus service will return to normal today. To check on routes, go to kcata.org or call 816-221-0660.

The Jo bus service in Johnson County also is expected to resume regular operations today.

Schools were closed Tuesday, and many districts had decided to give students another day off today, including Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley, Olathe, Kansas City, Kan., Lee’s Summit, Belton, Raymore-Peculiar, Independence, Grandview and Kansas City.

Kansas City police reported helping 30 stranded motorists Tuesday morning, compared with nearly 150 Thursday.

Around 100 flights had been canceled out of Kansas City International Airport, most of them before noon.

The heavy snow caused at least five roofs to partially collapse. Two roofs fell in Warrensburg, Mo., on a towing company and a furniture store. The roof of the Fraternal Order of Eagle’s building in Belton also fell in.

In Harrisonville, part of the roof of the Ash Grove Cement Co. collapsed early Tuesday. In Shawnee, the roof of a horse arena in the 5300 block of Renner Road also fell in.

No injuries were reported at any of the collapses.

A south Kansas City man suffered a severe hand injury in a snow blower mishap, Kansas City authorities reported.

Tree problems plagued many in the area.

Kansas City received 60 calls about downed trees blocking roadways, said Forest Decker, the city’s natural resources manager.

Broken tree limbs contributed the widespread power outages in the area.

Snow helped Kansas City police nab some burglary suspects.

Officers arrested three men who tried to flee when their van got stuck in the snow near 58th Street and Michigan Avenue about 2 a.m. Tuesday. They had been trying to drive away after police think they were spotted trying to break open an ATM inside a laundry business. They were apprehended after police followed footprints in the snow.

Some travelers had to take a chance driving into the storm, serving as reminders why the roads should be left clear for those who have to travel.

It was around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday when Kelly Stamps of Liberty unexpectedly began to go into labor. She quickly looked out her window and, to her dismay, saw that the dire weather forecast had proven true.

With her husband, Joe Stamps, behind the wheel, they got into their four-wheel drive Chevy Tahoe for the trip to St. Luke’s North Hospital about 14 miles away.

“It was still coming down, and with the wind it was hard to see,” Kelly Stamps said. “We just knew we had to get there.”

They arrived at the hospital about 6:30 a.m. Just in time.

About an hour later, Jacob, their second son, was born.

The Star’s Alan Bavley, Brian Burnes, Matt Campbell, Robert A. Cronkleton, Mark Davis, Steve Everly, Lynn Horsley, Mark Morris, Glenn E. Rice, Tony Rizzo, Joyce Smith, Judy L. Thomas and Christine Vendel contributed to this report.

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