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Buried in snow: Mid-Missouri could top record snowfall; Wednesday will bring high winds and drifting

A Missouri Department of Transportation truck plows north on Highway 63 at the intersection of Highway 42 as heavy snow falls Tuesday morning in Vienna. Accumulation was not expected to be as heavy as in the Jefferson City area, although about six inches had fallen by noon Tuesday.

A Missouri Department of Transportation truck plows north on Highway 63 at the intersection of Highway 42 as heavy snow falls Tuesday morning in Vienna. Accumulation was not expected to be as heavy as in the Jefferson City area, although about six inches had fallen by noon Tuesday. Photo by Kelley McCall.

Patience.

That’s the word emergency officials hope residents keep in mind the next few days as we deal with one of the worst winter storms to hit the area.

The snow started to fall around 5 a.m. with flurries and only got worse from there.

“The old record from Mid-Missouri for a two-day snowfall was around 20 inches in January 1995 and this one may top it,” said meteorologist Fred Glass with the National Weather Service office in St. Louis. “We’re looking at anywhere from 18-22 inches.”

Glass said the heavy snow should diminish Wednesday morning, but the winds will pick up, and that will cause drifting.

Believe it or not, there is some good news.

“Unlike St. Louis and points south, you all didn’t get the ice,” Glass said.

Glass added road crews will have their hands full the next several days.

“It won’t be until the weekend before we could get above 30,” he said. “If you start traveling and you get stranded, you’re putting your life at risk, especially in rural areas.”

The lack of ice was good news for utility crews.

Ameren Missouri spokesperson Lisa Manzo said there were very few outages reported Tuesday in Mid-Missouri.

“We’ve been constantly monitoring to see where we need to move crews and have been in a standby mode for the most part,” she said. “We’ve got 1,100 lineman throughout our service area. Some crews came from as far away as Tennessee and Michigan. We also have 500 Ameren Missouri linemen on standby as well. We learn from every storm to prepare for the next.”

If customers want to find out about service information, they can go to amerenmissouri.com. To report outages, call 800-552-7583.

Three Rivers Electric General Manager Tom Werdenhause said, “Our ability to get where problems are is now our biggest concern. We have employees spending the night at our headquarters so we can respond to problem areas as best as possible.

Werdenhause also said customers can call 800-892-2251 to report outages, if needed.

The worst of the ice accumulation also missed Co-Mo Electric Cooperative’s 4,000-plus miles of line.

Cold temperatures that are expected to follow the snowstorm have led the cooperative to call a peak alert for 6 to 9 a.m. Thursday and Friday. Energy Services Adviser Tom Hulse said this is a request for members to conserve electricity by delaying electricity-intensive tasks such as clothes drying and dish washing and by turning the thermostat down a few degrees.

As the storm finishes its path through Co-Mo’s service territory, the cooperative’s linemen remain at the office and on call should the need arise.

“What could end up happening is that, instead of calling in crews from outside cooperatives to help us get the power back on, our guys could be called out in a few days to other cooperatives to help them,” Johnson said. “That’s what being a part of the cooperative family is all about.”

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