Freezing rain could complicate morning commute - KCTV5 News

Freezing rain could complicate morning commute

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Light freezing rain is expected to complicate the morning commute for the second Friday in a row.

The brief spell of warm, dry weather in Missouri is coming to an end, and forecasters on Thursday warned that parts of the state are about to get hit with a combination of rain, freezing rain and snow.

Temperatures in the 50s and even approaching 60 degrees were common on Thursday — a nice respite from cold and, in many places, snowy and/or icy weather last weekend. National Weather Service meteorologist Jon Carney said the big change starts Friday — a hodgepodge of precipitation that will depend on temperatures that will rise above and below the freezing point.

KCTV5's Chris Suchan says light freezing rain will coat surfaces Friday morning. The Kansas City area is under a freezing rain advisory until 9 a.m.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has extra crews out to prepare roads for freezing rain and sleet. Motorists are used to slow and expect bridges, overpasses and hills to be ice-covered and slick.

MODOT pledged to respond quickly to the changing conditions and falling temperatures.

"During potentially icy conditions like these, it's very important for motorists to drive more cautiously than usual," said MODOT district engineer Dan Niec. "We are doing everything we can to keep the roads safe, but weather conditions can change rapidly, which means road conditions can change quickly too. Please check the roads before you go, reduce your speed and buckle up."

Flash flood watches have been issued for southwest and eastern portions of Missouri.

The eastern part of the state will see the most rain. Carney said up to 4 inches of rain is possible Friday through Saturday night, especially south of Interstate 44. Combined with snowmelt from last weekend's storm that dumped up to 8 inches of snow in parts of eastern Missouri, many streams, creeks and small rivers could rise quickly.

"It's definitely a concern that there could be flooding," Carney said. Bigger rivers like the Missouri and Mississippi are well below normal and face no flooding concern.

Carney said the eastern part of the state will see freezing rain, but it should be warm enough that it won't be on the ground long.

Once the rain and freezing rain end, snow follows, at least in the northern part of the state. Carney said the snow should start Saturday night and end by midday Sunday, dumping up to 5 inches on a line from Kansas City to the northeast Missouri town of Kirksville. Mid-Missouri towns like Columbia and Boonville should see 2-3 inches of snow.

A winter storm watch is in effect for Saturday into Sunday. The system will bring freezing drizzle or light freezing rain to some areas on Saturday morning.

 During the day it mixes with just cold rain as temperatures warm just above freezing. By Saturday evening, temperatures begin cooling and we'll see a mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow. Saturday night, a complete change to snow occurs before it moves out by Sunday's sunrise," KCTV5 Chief Meteorologist Chris Suchan said.

Most areas in Kansas City will see 3 to 4 inches of snow with "isolated amounts of 5 to 6 inches possible depending on the storm's track and how much moisture falls across the area."

Officials with the Missouri State Highway Patrol urged motorists to be extra careful, noting that last week's weather resulted in 10 traffic deaths over a 24-hour period. The patrol urged drivers to thoroughly remove snow and ice from the vehicle before driving, allow extra time, and watch out for roads that look wet but are really ice-covered.

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