LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — The FOX4 weather team is anticipating a mix of winter weather headed for the Kansas City metro beginning Friday night into the weekend.
That means streets throughout the metro will be potentially hazardous and local drivers may need a crash course in handling snow and ice.
Lee’s Summit is among the metro cities preparing for winter’s return, beginning as early as Friday afternoon. Meteorologists predict a mix of rain and freezing rain that will eventually turn to snowfall that could result in six inches of accumulation.
One public works official said in terms of weather, this might be a worst-case scenario. The predicted freezing rain makes it nearly impossible to pretreat streets.
Lee’s Summit’s deputy director of public works Bob Hartnett said the rain would wash away any pretreatment and following icy streets with a sizable snowfall is the recipe for driving danger.
“Freezing rain is much more difficult for us than standard snow,” Hartnett said.
Hartnett, who has worked for the city of Lee’s Summit for 39 years, said the city’s department of public works has as many as 27 trucks on the road during most winter weather events, and workers are preparing to begin 12-hour shifts on Friday.
“Our crews are scheduled to begin work at the time the frozen precipitation is supposed to begin. That’s tomorrow evening. We will be on the streets at the time the frozen precipitation starts,” Hartnett said.
“We will not stop until every street in Lee’s Summit, or at least, every public street in Lee’s Summit has been plowed and treated.”
The potential of six inches of snow might make for dangerous driving conditions, but it’s a moneymaking opportunity for private companies that run snowplows.
Alberto Galvan, who has run Greenwood-based Galvan Lawn and Landscaping for 30 years, doesn’t take winters off. Galvan and his employees are at the ready, preparing eight plows out and about to help their clients clear their parking lots.
“We perk up when we hear more than three inches. When we hear 10 or 15, then it really perks up. They know that we`re going to be working long hours, but they`re going to making some good money too,” Galvan said.
Preparations are nearly identical in other metro cities.
In Kansas City, Missouri, crews from other city departments are prepared to help with snow removal as needed. A spokesperson for the City of Olathe said crews will rush to pretreat streets as soon as the temperature drops and rainfall ends.
The pros and the public works laborers agree, it might be a good weekend to stay home and avoid hazardous weather altogether.