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story.lead_photo.caption Joe Braun, near left, slides back the tailgate spreader as it hangs on a rail system while Raymond Raef helps to balance the equipment for safe installation. Employees of Cole County Public Works loaded winter gear onto trucks the morning of Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, preparing for winter weather predicted to arrive in the area. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

Winter doesn't officially begin until Dec. 21, but it felt like it started Monday.

A storm system moved across Missouri on Monday, bringing snow to western parts of the state and a mix of precipitation to Central Missouri.

"The rain/mix/snow line was the Jefferson City and Columbia area," said meteorologist Ben Herzog of the National Weather Service in St. Louis. "The further north of that area, getting into Mexico and Moberly, you had snow, but it was light."

The wintry weather saw crews at the Cole County Public Works Department preparing their equipment in case they would need to treat roads.

"Overnight we had a truck go out to check on conditions, particularly on the bridges," said Cole County Public Works Director Larry Benz. "Monday we had our guys double-checking our equipment, but that's normal for this time of year."

Last week Missouri Department of Transportation employees participated in the annual winter operations drill, responding to a simulated forecast of significant snow for the entire state. In addition, every piece of equipment — trucks, motor graders, snow blowers and tractors — was inspected and calibrated to conserve materials.

Jefferson City Operations Director Britt Smith said there's not much to do but monitor conditions when there's a combination of light precipitation and ground temperatures still above freezing.

"It would take a pretty significant drop in temperatures before we'd have a widespread issue," Smith said. "We always make sure to get out to check bridge decks and elevated surfaces on days like these. Public sidewalks and some low-volume traffic areas also tend to get slick quickly. The police are out 24 hours a day, and they are good to let us know when they find slick areas."

Benz said it's not too early to see the type of wintry weather Mid-Missouri experienced Monday.

"We usually see the first snow that we have to deal with around this time of the year, probably just before or just after the first weekend of deer season, and that season opens next week," Benz said. "We're always preparing, because with Missouri weather you never know what could happen. It wouldn't be the first time Mother Nature has thrown us a curve ball."

Temperatures Tuesday should be about 10 degrees warmer than Monday, Herzog said. With Halloween on Saturday, the high temperature should be around 60 degrees.

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