The Big Snow of 2013 slammed Kansas City like a thunderstorm.
It poured snow. Lightning even flashed.
In a matter of hours Thursday morning, parts of the area were deluged with a foot of snow.
At times snow fell at a rate of 3 inches an hour in some parts of the area. The heaviest covered the southern parts of the metro area with 12 inches of snow, while north of the river topped out around 8 inches.
Kansas City declared a state of emergency, as did many other municipalities.
Roads were blocked. Visibility at times near zero. Flights canceled at the airport. City buses running late, if not completely stuck. Ambulances sputtering around stranded cars.
Once the heavy snow ended around noon, plowing crews began to clear some paths around the stranded vehicles that had overwhelmed the region's army of tow trucks.
Kansas City International Airport shut down at the height of the storm as hundreds of flights were canceled.
This is what happens when a massive low pressure front comes freezing out of the southern Rockies and hits bloated humid air rolling up from the Gulf. The combination struck with a magnitude unseen since the blizzard of 2011.
"This time we finally had the stronger upper level system with moisture in place," National Weather Service meteorologist Spencer Mell said.
In its wake, the storm was expected to follow with light freezing drizzle and additional snow through Thursday night, with a chance of 1 to 2 more inches total.
Depending on how the final total turns out, Thursday's storm will stand somewhere among the Top 5 since 1934, according to the National Weather Service. Since records have been kept at the downtown airport, the 11.8 inches that fell on Jan. 18, 1962, is the highest.
However, a snowfall report made from the Scarritt Building downtown on March 24, 1912, recorded 25 inches of snow -- believed to be Kansas City's largest snowstorm.
Thursday's was plenty bad enough.
Transportation officials continued to issue strong cautions against driving overnight, and into today.
"With more snow and with the wind conditions, any roadway is suspect to have poor conditions," said Barb Blue, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Temperatures are predicted to remain freezing and fall to around 10 degrees by tonight, followed by gradual warming through the weekend to a high of about 40 degrees Sunday.
The next possible storm may arrive Sunday night. The conditions it will bring remain uncertain, Mell said, but for now it appears it will be a mix of rain and snow that is unlikely to accumulate.
Road crews could use a break, if they can get it.
Kansas City's 200 large snowplows struggled to keep pace with the accumulating snow on the city's main streets, but were expected to run all night and throughout today and possibly into the weekend to get those streets cleared.
The tougher challenge confronted the smaller pickup trucks that Kansas City uses to plow a path down the middle of its residential streets.
Public Works Director Sherri McIntyre said the city had about 70 of those trucks, and they were able to hit only about 40 percent of the city's streets by Thursday afternoon. They will resume plowing at 6 a.m. today and run
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