Mid-Missouri braces for snow, bitter cold (updated)

Updated Saturday evening with new NWS weather statement below the article.

The weekend weather forecast for Central Missouri has 3-5 inches of snow falling between tonight and Sunday followed by bitterly cold temperatures, reaching wind chills of 15-30 below zero by Monday.

Staying warm will be at the forefront of people’s thoughts with that weather forecast, and local health officials are letting residents know there are a number of places to go to get warm.

Warming centers in our area include the Salvation Army at 927 Jefferson St., the Clarke Senior Center at 1310 Linden Drive and the Senior Center at Capital Mall.

The Missouri River Regional Library on East High Street is also a warming center during its regular business hours.

In the event of a major power outage, there are 25 approved Red Cross shelter locations in Cole County/Jefferson City.

In Linn, the designated warming centers are the public library and Casey’s General Store, both on Main Street.

The warming centers in Fulton are the Fulton Senior Center, 531 Commons Drive, and the Callaway County Health Department, 4950 County Road 304.

Cole County Health Director Kristi Campbell said they have not seen any cold weather illnesses or hypothermia yet, but there is still plenty of winter to come.

Wind chill is the temperature felt on exposed skin because of the effect of wind on the air temperature. When the wind blows faster, body heat is lost quicker, making it feel colder.

During the extreme cold, it’s important to cover all exposed skin to keep it from freezing. You should make sure to cover your mouth to protect your lungs.

“In cold weather, people tend to use alternative heat sources such as electric space heaters, electric blankets, etc,”said Cole County Emergency Management Director Bill Farr. “Space heaters need to be placed away from combustibles and used with caution. Electric blankets should not be folded sharply to cause wires to break or left on unattended. Wood heat is great, but you should take some precautions. Don’t overload stoves because that can cause temperatures to rise rapidly and burning unseasoned wood can also cause problems.”

Jefferson City Public School District leaders cautioned on Friday that very low temperatures — made worse by wind chill — might lead to school cancellations early next week.

Jefferson City Public Schools Superintendent Brian Mitchell said Friday: “On extremely cold days, especially when road conditions may be less than ideal, we need to consider student safety, in particular those students who walk or wait at bus stops. It’s not out of the question for us to cancel school on such days. Should a decision be made to cancel school, we will try to do so the evening before so families will be prepared.”

Mitchell added that when it is very cold outside, schools will significantly limit outdoor time such as recess or keep students inside.

Ultimately, it is always the parents’ decision whether they wish for their child to go to school on any given day; but the school district will plan to have school on winter days unless it is exceptionally cold and driving conditions are potentially hazardous, officials said.

Keeping plants and animals warm can also be a challenge with extreme cold temperatures.

Heather Smith with the University of Missouri Extension Office in Fulton said tarps around kennels can keep dogs warm.

“Getting them a box with straw is also good, and you should make sure they have plenty of water,” she said. “Snow should not be a substitution for water. If it gets exceptionally cold, small breed dogs need to be brought in because they don’t have much body mass to help them stay warm. Cats are pretty good at finding warm spots because they are usually roaming around outside, and they find the spots out of the wind.”

Jim Quinn with the extension office in Jefferson City, said: “It’s been cold enough, long enough, that plants kept outside have adapted. Trees might get damaged, but there is no practical ways to protect them. For small trees that have just been planted, you could have a tree wrap around them. For indoor plants that are kept on porches, you need to keep an eye on them. Move them into the house and watch their watering. That’s because when the weather gets colder you shouldn’t water too much to keep them from getting root rot. Keep them just a little moist. Plants need a little more water because the humidity is lower when the heat is running in your home.”

Weather resources:

Mid-Missouri forecast, radar, advisories

MoDOT traveler information map

National Weather Service advisory, updated Saturday evening

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ST LOUIS HAS ISSUED A WIND CHILL WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM SUNDAY TO NOON CST TUESDAY. THE WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY ALSO REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 3PM SUNDAY.

  • TIMING...SNOW WILL DEVELOP ACROSS THE AREA THIS EVENING... THEN CONTINUE INTO SUNDAY MORNING. ARCTIC AIR AND STRONG NORTHWEST WINDS WILL PRODUCE SOME BLOWING AND DRIFTING OF THIS SNOW... AND THEN DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS SUNDAY NIGHT... THROUGH MONDAY... AND INTO TUESDAY.
  • ACCUMULATIONS... 3 TO 6 INCHES OF SNOW.
  • WIND CHILL... AS LOW AS 35 BELOW DUE TO BELOW ZERO TEMPERATURES AND NORTHWEST WINDS GUSTING UP TO 35 MPH.
  • WINDS... NORTHWEST GUSTING UP TO 35 MPH.
  • IMPACTS... THE COMBINATION OF THE SNOW AND THE GUSTY WINDS MAY CAUSE NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. IN OPEN AREAS...VISIBILITIES WILL DROP BELOW ONE-QUARTER MILE... AND THE BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW WILL CAUSE SOME ROADS TO BECOME IMPASSIBLE. WITH SUCH POOR TRAVEL CONDITIONS... AND WITH WIND CHILLS PLUMMETING TO DANGEROUS LEVELS... ANYONE THAT BECOMES STRANDED IN A VECHILE MAY ENCOUNTER A LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. THESE CONDITIONS ARE RARE FOR THIS AREA SO ANYONE CONSIDERING TRAVEL SHOULD NOT TAKE THIS WEATHER SITUATION LIKELY...AND BE CERTAIN TO TAKE THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS TO STAY SAFE. THE BEST ADVICE IS TO AVOID TRAVEL UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

See also:

Dress for success to stay warm in severe cold

‘Polar vortex’ to blast frigid air over much of US

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