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MLK Day alleviates some traffic concerns as snow hits Mid-Missouri

MLK Day alleviates some traffic concerns as snow hits Mid-Missouri

January 15th, 2018 by Jeff Haldiman in Local News

Dressed in heavy winter wear, Payton Turpin scatters ice-melting material on the steps of the north side of the Capitol on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. Facilities management crews were busy clearing walkways and steps of snow before employees return to work Tuesday. Foot and street traffic was minimal due to the Martin Luther King Jr. state holiday.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

Having a winter storm fall on a national holiday probably helped minimize problems on Mid-Missouri roads Monday.

With all government offices, banks, post offices and many schools closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, traffic was reduced as the storm rolled through in the early morning hours.

Still, as of Monday afternoon, the Missouri Highway Patrol Troop F headquarters in Jefferson City reported 27 accidents in its 13-county area of service since Sunday. Four of those left people injured.

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"We've been lucky that the last couple of storms have occurred on weekends and people have taken heed to stay off the roads, if they can," said Troop F Spokesman Sgt. Scott White. "We understand people do need to get out; we just ask that they give themselves plenty of time to get to their destinations when bad weather occurs."

The National Weather Service predicts another bitterly cold day across much of Missouri on Tuesday, with temperatures expected to reach the teens at their highest and snow flurries possible. Mid-Missouri counties including Cole, Osage, Callaway, Moniteau and Boone are under a wind chill advisory until noon Tuesday, with wind chills up to 20 degrees below zero in the forecast.

Temperatures were expected to warm gradually starting Wednesday, according to the NWS.

Jefferson City Public Schools announced Monday afternoon it would not hold classes Tuesday. As of late Monday afternoon, the Blair Oaks R-2 district in Wardsville planned to have school Tuesday, Superintendent Jim Jones told the News Tribune.

Helias Catholic High School planned to have a regular school schedule Tuesday. "The Jefferson City public schools are closing because of the cold temperatures, which affect students at their bus pickup locations. Since we do not bus students, we will be in session," school officials said in a Facebook post.

Local public works officials continue to monitor road conditions.

"The timing of the snowfall made for a short night for our crews, but we got the roads in good shape for those that did have to be out," said Jefferson City Operations Division Director Britt Smith. "Our guys were out from 2 a.m. until abut 9 a.m. Monday; and we'll be monitoring conditions Tuesday morning, particularly around high-traffic areas such as schools. The drying on the pavement through the day Monday helped."

Cole County Public Works Director Larry Benz said a few county road crew members would be out Tuesday morning checking areas that normally drift after a snowfall.

"With the strong winds that we'll be dealing with, that's the thing we're most concerned with," Benz said.