Cold adds to snow problem

Road-clearing made more complicated by wind, failure to melt

This latest winter storm to hit Central Missouri, forecasters emphasize, is unlike what we’ve seen in several decades.

“We’re only looking at about 4-6 inches of snow, but behind the snow, which should end sometime this morning, will be strong northwest winds and bitterly cold air,” said meteorologist Scott Truett with the National Weather Service in St. Louis. “This is very uncommon for our area. We’ll see the potential for blowing or drifting snow, and if someone got stuck out in a rural area, it could be a life threatening thing. It may not be too bad in a city or metropolitan area, but if you got caught out in the country in weather like that, it could be very bad. That’s why we want to emphasize that people need to be prepared, get what they need for home and stay there, if that’s possible.”

Truett said the strong winds will stick around through Monday as an upper level low will drop down from the arctic and plunge frigid air south into our area.

“The actual temperature Monday morning will be -10 and the winds chill could be around -30,” he said. “The northern plains and upper Midwest see this during winter, but not Central Missouri.”

The combination of strong winds and arctic air will make an already difficult job for road crews even harder.

“We’ll just deal with it as it comes,” said Cole County Public Works Director Larry Benz. “Our full crews will hit roads starting Sunday morning, because we can push the snow off the road easily. It’s frigid temperatures that will hurt because it won’t be warm enough to melt to keep it down and keep it from drifting. After the snow stops we’ll be monitoring for drifting, and we’ll keep going as long as the wind is blowing.”

Believe it or not, there is some some good news.

“Starting Tuesday we should get back to around 20, in the 30s by Wednesday and 40 by Thursday,” Truett said. “It’s pay attention for the worst and hope for the best.”

Weather resources:

Mid-Missouri forecast, radar, advisories

MoDOT traveler information map

Related articles:

Historic freeze could break Midwest temp records

Experts warn of frostbite, dead batteries in cold

Mid-Missouri braces for snow, bitter cold (includes information on Jefferson City area warming shelters)

Dress for success to stay warm in severe cold


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