Archive for Friday, February 6, 2004

Storm leaves calling card on Kansas, Missouri

Heavy snow closes government offices, universities, makes travel treacherous across two-state region

February 6, 2004


Heavy snowfall closed government offices and universities in Kansas and Missouri in the middle of the day Thursday, disrupting services and classes.

Jackson County, Mo., services were particularly hard hit. Bad weather forced authorities to close courthouses and two administrative divisions of the Sheriff's Office, although 911 services remained operational.

Social Security offices in the Kansas City metro area also closed their doors. The city of Olathe, Kan., just over the state line in Johnson County, stopped its trash collection for the day.

A plane carrying 29 people skidded off a taxiway upon arrival at Kansas City International Airport. No one on United Airlines flight 5764 was injured, and airport workers were trying to tow the plane back onto the taxiway, said Tom McKenna, a Kansas City Aviation Department spokesman. The airport was also experiencing minor delays of less than 30 minutes for some flights.

Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas State University in Manhattan and Fort Hays State University in Hays closed their main campuses Thursday afternoon. Evening classes at KU's Overland Park campus were canceled, and all university libraries were closed.

Kansas State officials asked students, staff and faculty to move their cars off campus to give crews a chance to clear sidewalks and parking lots. The work was especially important because about 700 high schoolers and their parents were descending on the campus today for a scholarship event, university spokeswoman Cheryl May said.

The snow began falling Wednesday night across Kansas and northwest Missouri and continued through the day Thursday. Accumulations varied widely across the region, but the heaviest snowfall appeared to be in northern Kansas, where the town of Mankato received 9 inches by Thursday morning.

Dozens of schools in the Kansas City, St. Louis, Topeka and Wichita areas canceled classes. More than 200 public and private schools around Springfield, Mo., also were closed.

The closings were not limited to schools. At The Woodlands, a dog track in Kansas City, Kan., the live greyhound racing program was also called off for the day.

The highway patrols of both states advised drivers to use caution.

"A lot of people think because they have four-wheel drive, they can go faster," said Sgt. John Hotz of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

"Unfortunately when it comes time to stop they find that four-wheel drive doesn't help you stop. And that's when you lose control of your vehicle."

The snow was blamed for one death, a traffic fatality in southwest Missouri.

Huandis Cisneros, 26, of Wheaton, Mo., died Thursday afternoon when the car she was riding in on a Barry County road collided head-on with a pickup truck.

Two others in the car were hospitalized.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.