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Pileup crashes and slide-offs occur as Ice Storm of 2017 strikes central US

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
January 16, 2017, 7:43:44 AM EST

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    As of 6:42 a.m. CST Monday, this reports story will no longer be updated.

    A long-duration ice storm will continue to cause dangerous travel across the Central states through Monday.

    Hazardous travel will threaten motorists for hundreds of miles along interstates 35, 70 and 80.

    An icy mix and slippery travel will expand into the Upper Midwest on Monday.

    Surviving a power outage during an ice storm
    Severe central US ice storm to cut power, immobilize travel and cause damage
    Interactive radar

    As of early Monday morning, incoming reports say there is an accumulation of ice from a tenth to a quarter of an inch in parts of Nebraska and Iowa.

    The ice storm has claimed the lives of six people due to icy road conditions and inclement weather.

    According to the state highway patrol crash reports three people died in separate car crashes in Missouri due to weather-related hazards on Friday and Saturday.

    A driver of a semitrailer died in a crash in Oklahoma on Interstate 40. The interstate was closed in two places in western portions of the state because of wrecks, including the jackknifing of several tractor-trailers in icy conditions.

    More semitrailer wrecks have stalled traffic on I-80 near Kearney, Nebraska.

    The Kansas City Chiefs have been preparing for the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Crews are busy keeping water off the tarp and airing out the field.

    Power outages are rising quickly in Oklahoma . OG&E is reporting 5,267 current outages as of 9:10 a.m. CST.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 10.07.42 AM.png

    (Image via OG&E)

    As of 8:30 a.m. CST current outage reports in Oklahoma show 4,864 without power. Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) is assessing the time it will take to restore power.

    At least three fatalities have been reported by highway patrol in Missouri and Oklahoma due to icy roads as of 7:40 a.m. CST on Jan. 15.

    Traffic advisories from OK DOT tell drivers to avoid unnecessary travel. Motorists should be alert to the potential for ice on the roadway, go slow and allow extra time for travel.

    Drivers should be aware of the slick and hazardous highways and interstates in southwestern Oklahoma, including I-40 in western Oklahoma. Northeastern and central Oklahoma, including the OKC and Tulsa metros, have isolated slick spots.

    MoDOT issued a winter weather advisory for reduced travel. Motorists should avoid travel in Missouri, if possible, through Sunday due to ongoing significant amounts of freezing rain, sleet and ice. Check the traveler information report before traveling.

    Ice has accumulated up to a half an inch around Dodge City, Kansas. Power outages have been reported south of the city in Ashland, Kansas.

    After a long break from icy conditions, freezing rain has resumed in St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri. An observer at the Lambert–St. Louis International Airport reports that ice has started to accumulate on cars and elevated surfaces near the airport.

    Freezing rain is coming down heavily across western Oklahoma and southern Kansas as of early Sunday morning. Continue to be careful on area roadways as icy spots are expected.

    Power outages are also mounting across the region. Over 2,000 OGE Energy customers are without power across western and central Oklahoma.

    OK DOT

    Roadways are slick across much of western Oklahoma as indicated by the blue shading. (Image/Oklahoma DOT)

    Ice is building up on trees and power lines across the Texas Panhandle, causing some to fall under the weight. A half inch of ice has been reported at Canadian, Texas, which has caused several large tree limbs to break across the town.

    Freezing rain continues to spread across the Wichita, Kansas area with possible impacts on trees, power lines and untreated surfaces. NWS Wichita is reporting that roads and sidewalks in Hutchinson, Kansas, are freezing up, and ice is forming on trees and elevated surfaces in Hesston and Clearwater.

    According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg, significant icing will continue across much of central and southeastern Kansas through Sunday. The heaviest icing will occur from Salina through Dodge City, but areas farther southeast from Topeka through Wichita will also have significant icing. Travel will be treacherous through the day on Sunday as temperatures struggle to reach above freezing.

    "Travel should only be done in an emergency as roads and sidewalks will be ice covered and very slick," Hoegg said. "Conditions can change rapidly over short distances on roadways and anyone that has to be out will want to take extreme caution."

    Multiple crashes occurred due to drivers losing control of their vehicles on the ice-covered roadways, including one fatality, according to Missouri State Highway Patrol.

    A couple of crashes involved vehicles that slid off the roadway striking an embankment and guard rails.

    Ice storm warning remains in effect for the majority of the Central states. Freezing drizzle and rain will add more to ice accumulations. Heavier accumulations of ice may cause damage to tree limbs and power lines leading to power outages.

    #toyotafjcruiser #Icestorm2017 #freezingrain

    A video posted by Bob Seehausen (@bobseehausen) on

    As of 8:30 a.m. CST power is slowly being restored across Missouri and Illinois. Power outages in Illinois have decreased to 345 customers, while power outages in Missouri have decreased to 3,773.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 9.37.14 AM.png

    Power outage map of Missouri. (Image via Ameren Missouri)

    Power outages are rising to almost 5,000 in parts of Missouri as ice continues to glaze the Central states through early Sunday morning.

    Roads, bridges and overpasses will most likely be hazardous and slick.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 7.50.36 AM.png

    Road conditions remain hazardous in Illinois. (Image via Illinois DOT)

    "Residents of Kansas and central Missouri, including Wichita and Kansas City, that dealt with freezing rain glazing surfaces on Friday night, but are
    starting Saturday dry should not let their guard down," AccuWeather Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 8.45.44 AM.png

    As of 7:45 a.m. CST freezing rain continues to hammer the Central states.

    "The worst of the ice storm is still yet to come. Freezing rain in the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma will spread back northward on Saturday afternoon into the night, before persisting into Sunday," Pydynowski said.

    According to OK DOT all lanes of I-40 are closed just west of Weatherford in Custer County as of 6:30 a.m. CST. Roads are slick and hazardous, and drivers should avoid the area.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 7.37.51 AM.png

    Areas of I-40 have severe road conditions. (Image via OK DOT)

    Driving in these conditions is dangerous. If you must travel, use extreme caution, reduce speed and stay back 150 feet from snow removal equipment.

    If traffic light signals are not working due to a power outage, treat dark signals as a four-way stop.

    Power outages are mounting as ice continues to glaze the Central states. As of 6 a.m. CST, over 5,000 Ameren customers are without power in Missouri. In Illinois, nearly 900 Ameren customers are in the dark.

    As ice expands into central and southern Illinois, roadway conditions are quickly deteriorating across the state. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, portions of interstates 55, 64, 70 and 72 are partially or completely covered with ice as of 3:45 a.m. CST.

    Ice accumulations as of 3 a.m. CST:

    Ice totals 1.14 AM

    Freezing rain is expanding to the north and east across Missouri early Saturday morning. Ice has resumed in the St. Louis metro area after a brief break during Friday evening. Large stretches of Interstate 70 are slick due to the ice, the Missouri Department of Transportation reports.

    As of 10 p.m. CST, freezing rain has begun to fall in and around the Kansas City metro area. Icy spots are developing quickly on area roadways and several accidents have already been reported. Road conditions will continue to deteriorate throughout the night across the region.

    Several crashes, including a 22-car pileup in downtown Wichita, Kansas, were caused by freezing rain and ice along the city's highways on Friday night. According to KAKE, the pileup occurred on the off ramp from westbound Kellogg to the Central Business District. A man whose car was part of the accident said the ramp was "like ice." No significant injuries are reported, but people are advised to stay off the roads.

    Other crashes across Wichita, according to KAKE, include a crash on Lincoln and McClean, where the bridge on Lincoln over the Arkansas river was closed. Also, on K-96 and Oliver, police were advising people to avoid the area as multiple accidents were congesting the highway.

    City officials instated the Emergency Accident Reporting Plan due to the weather conditions, KAKE reported.

    In a news conference late on Friday afternoon, according to the AP, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens thanked the state’s residents for staying off roads during the ice storm but warned that dangerous conditions will remain through Sunday.

    The Missouri Highway Patrol reports it responded to about 100 crashes on Friday, with one fatality related to the storm. Power outages were small and scattered across the state.

    While temperatures have risen above freezing in far southern Missouri, said AccuWeather Meterologist Randy Adkins, much of the state will continue to deal with freezing rain and drizzle overnight. The heaviest/steadiest activity will occur along the I-44 corridor from the St. Louis Metro to areas just north of Springfield.

    "Expect very dangerous driving conditions, not just from slippery roads, but also from downed tree branches and power lines as the weight of the ice increases," Adkins said.

    The Kansas Highway Patrol has reported that state offices were closed at 2 p.m. CST due to the hazardous weather conditions caused by the ice storm. Officers will still be on the road and a dispatch answering service is in place.

    Illinois Department of Transportation (I) crews will be working around the clock this weekend to respond to any emergencies related to the ice storm.

    Football fans who are planning to attend the NFL divisional round matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers in Kansas City on Sunday will need to re-adjust their schedules. Due to the severity of the storm, on Friday afternoon, the NFL announced that the kickoff time had been moved to 8:20 p.m. EST. The game had originally been scheduled for 1:05 p.m. EST.

    A steady rain will continue to fill in around the St. Louis metro area, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dean DeVore.

    A storm total of 0.25 to 0.50 of an inch of ice is expected for the area through midday Saturday.

    Some icy conditions have already been reported along Interstate 44 from St. Louis into southwestern Missouri, Devore added.

    As of 12:20 p.m. CST Friday, about 0.25 of an inch of ice has been reported in areas across south-central Missouri and the heaviest area of freezing rain will continue to move into southern Illinois during the afternoon.

    Sporadic power outages have been reported around Springfield, Missouri, with trees down in the area as well.

    Missouri snow

    Significant accumulation has occurred across Arcadia, Missouri. (Photo/Kasey Likely)


    (Photo/Kasey Likely)

    A fatal crash was reported on northbound Interstate 55 near Festus, Missouri, on Friday, morning. Festus is located about 40 minutes south of St. Louis.

    The Missouri Highway Patrol (MSHP) is investigating the accident. The MSHP also reported that a southbound stretch of I-55 is closed due to the icy conditions.

    Freezing rain coated this tree in Arcadia, Missouri, on Friday. Arcadia is located about two hours south of St. Louis.

    freezing rain missouri

    (Photo/Kasey Likely)

    As the ice storm develops, here is a list of vital tips to follow to deal with the storm. It is widely recommended that residents stay indoors and avoid traveling, unless necessary.

    Infographic: How to prepare for an ice storm

    The storm preparations began Thursday in Olathe, Kansas. Customers nearly emptied the shelves in this Walmart.


    (Photo/Twitter user @TroopCandiceKHP)

    The Kansas Division of Emergency Management activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka, at 7 a.m. Friday. This will help officials monitor the impacts of the winter storm that will cover much of the state.

    Officials said that residents are urged to stay home and avoid travel unless absolutely necessary.

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