Cities report few to no accidents as result of winter storm

Many across the Kansas City metro area found their vehicles Friday, Jan. 17, similar to this one, encased in ice. Ice covered main roadways and highways across the area, including the Northland, leading schools, public facilities and some businesses to close for the day. First response agencies in Kearney, Liberty and Smithville said many heeded weather alerts and stayed off the roads, resulting in little to no calls for service to accidents inside city limits.

While a winter storm brought snow, ice and sleet to the Northland that caused roadways across the area to become dangerous Friday, Jan. 17, Kearney, Liberty and Smithville representatives said their respective cities remained quiet.

While Kearney Area Fire and Rescue Protection District shared details to social media about multiple accidents on Interstate 35 near Liberty Hospital during morning commute hours, district personnel said they did not get accident calls for service in its coverage area.

“It's actually pretty quiet around here,” said Capt. David Pratt. Kearney police officials also said they did not respond to accidents as a result of weather Friday.

In Liberty and Smithville city limits, first response agencies reported a similar lack of calls for service.

Liberty Fire Chief John Mills said emergency responders took care of one accident early in the day, but did not responded to any other accidents.

"I believe people are heeding the warnings and staying off the streets," Mills said.

"We are counting ourselves lucky and thankful in the same breath,” Smithville Police Chief Jason Lockridge said.

Afternoon conditions improved slightly as temperatures above freezing in some areas helped melt ice that caused issues early on roads and highways, said Clay County Sheriff Paul Vescovo. Some of the most dangerous areas that saw multiple wrecks early on Friday included Interstates 435 and 35 and U.S. Highway 69. Despite some of the ice melting, the sheriff said drivers should remain cautious and not travel unless necessary.

“There are still some slick spots out in some areas of the county,” he said, adding most of the slick areas are on secondary roads and in parking lots. “... Right now, there are areas becoming more slushy. Take your time. As it gets later, it will get cooler out and those spots will refreeze.”

The Missouri Department of Transportation said drivers should take caution as black ice may be present.

"On overpasses and bridges, cold air moves above and below the surface, often forming black ice," states a Missouri Department of Transportation release. Patches can seem invisible to drivers.

If drivers hit a patch of black ice, MoDOT suggests they leave room to brake and break and steer gently.

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