The Missouri Highway Patrol has fully mobilized for the current ice storm.
The southern and central part of the state could receive a quarter to three quarters of an inch of ice through midday Sunday, with western areas including Kansas City under an Ice Storm Warning from the National Weather Service through midnight Sunday.
The Highway Patrol’s Captain John Hotz says 400-500 troopers will be on duty during the storm’s duration. He says they’ll be responding to a variety of incident in addition to traffic accidents.
“We also see a lot of slide-offs where maybe there’s no damage, but people become stranded because they slide off the roadways” said Hotz. “We’ll be responding to those crashes as well as assisting those motorists who may be stranded or having other issues.”
Hotz says troopers are now working 12-hour shifts, and are stationed in areas where the patrol expects problems. All “leave time” has been cancelled during the storm.
The agency is urging drivers to use extreme caution and avoid traveling if possible during the storm. Hotz notes traffic can delay emergency responders during the storm.
“Also it makes it difficult if we have a big traffic jam with traffic backed up for miles, It makes it difficult for MODoT to get to those roads and to be able to take care of them like they want to.”
MODoT, the state’s transportation department, has been treating the roads with chemicals which are effective in improving driving conditions.
The Highway Patrol has advice for those who must travel during the storm. Hotz says drivers should plan for extended delays y by having a full tank of fuel.
“Keeping that vehicle full will allow you to have the vehicle running to keep people warm inside, but also hopefully to keep the ice and stuff like that from forming on the vehicle.”
The patrol also advises drivers to be prepared for long delays by carrying coats, gloves, water, non-perishable food and a flashlight while traveling.
For those who must drive, the Highway Patrol suggests checking road conditions by consulting Missouri’s Road Condition Report by phone (1-888-275-6636), or MoDOT’s Road Condition Map online