KANSAS CITY — A winter storm bore down on Missouri on Tuesday, dumping enough snow to make roads treacherous and forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights and hundreds of schools.
Eight to 11 inches of snow were forecast across a large portion of northern and central Missouri, said Mike July, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's office in the Kansas City suburb of Pleasant Hill. He said the heaviest snow was expected in a band from the Kansas City area through Macon and into central Illinois.
Accumulations of 2 to 4 inches were expected in south-central and southwest Missouri. The weather service predicted about 3 inches for the St. Louis region.
Kansas City International canceled about 50 departing flights and 40 arrivals, according to the airport's website.
Hundreds of schools and some colleges and universities were closed. MU had announced Monday that it would be shut down all day Tuesday. The weather also led Southeast Missouri State to close campuses in Sikeston, Kennett and Malden at noon. And Missouri education officials postponed a St. Louis public hearing on improving unaccredited school districts.
Children's Mercy in Kansas City also closed all outpatient clinics at noon Tuesday because of the weather.
Enjoli Dixon, who works for the Missouri Department of Social Services, had to bring her 2-year-old son Carter to work because his day care in Jefferson City was closed.
Dixon said the cold and snow this winter have kept her from her favorite activities, including hiking.
"I'm an outdoors person. It is hard getting used to this cold weather," she said.
Road conditions were expected to become more dangerous throughout the day, as snowfall tapered from Tuesday night into early Wednesday, wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph were likely in northern Missouri. By Thursday morning, temperatures were expected to drop to 10 to 15 degrees below zero along the Iowa border, with wind chills as low as negative 25 to 30 degrees possible.
The Missouri Department of Transportation said the gusts would create drifting conditions within minutes after plows clear highways. Even before the gusts started, numerous roads in the central and southwest part of the state were covered with snow, including a large section of Interstate 70.
In Springfield, a good Samaritan was being hailed as a hero for jumping into an icy pond Tuesday morning to pull two young women from a submerged car. The Springfield News-Leader reported that Donovan Hensley had just dropped off his wife at work when he saw skid marks leading into a pond and two women standing on a sinking vehicle. He persuaded the women to jump to him, helped both to shore, warmed them in his car and drove them home. No one was hurt.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said a truck carrying ethanol slid off Interstate 29 in St. Joseph about 4 a.m. Tuesday, prompting the closure of both southbound lanes until 6:30 a.m., when one lane was reopened. The driver was not injured.
Transportation officials urged employers to consider allowing people to work from home or take the day off.
Ron Miller was sweeping the steps of the post office across the street from the state Capitol after snow began to fall.
"It's not too bad out if you bundle up," said the longtime postal worker, although he added that he was looking forward to escaping the cold weather with a trip to Phoenix later this week.