In subfreezing temperatures, snowy conditions can quickly spell doom for untreated roads and highways, and that’s precisely what happened on Missouri’s Interstate 70 just east of Kansas City on Friday afternoon. After the snow had been falling at a rate of about an inch per hour since mid-morning, it didn’t take much to trigger a multi-vehicle car crash — with as many as 47 cars involved — that left many injured and at least one person dead.
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel explained why the harrowing conditions were ripe for such a deadly incident.
“In addition to the snow, it was very cold, 10-15 degrees F, while the snow was falling. So, snow was able to immediately accumulate on roadways.” Samuhel added.
“If there was heavy traffic present, it’s not out of the question the traffic caused the snow to melt. Once melted, it would refreeze almost instantly producing icy conditions,” Samuhel said.
Video of the scene was caught from inside a semi truck that pulled over in the middle of the mayhem, which was tweeted by KCTV5 News producer Dante Jones and quickly racked up several million views. “Unbelievable footage from the pileup on I-70 today,” Jones wrote. “My jaw dropped to the floor first time I saw this video.”