If weather forecasts were correct, you may have had to dust some snow off this morning's newspaper edition. Forecasters called for snow across Mid-Missouri, beginning early in the morning and ending this evening.
The National Weather Service in St. Louis has issued a Winter Weather Advisory until 9 p.m. and predicted 1-3 inches of snowfall in Central Missouri, with winds gusting up to 35 mph. Today's high temperature is expected be at 33 degrees, but wind chill values could reach as low as 17 degrees.
"We're not expecting any freezing rain or drizzle with this storm," NWS meteorologist Mark Britt said. "This should mainly be a snow event."
Other than ice and some snow that fell over the New Year's holiday, this has so far been a fairly mild winter, Britt said. At the Columbia Regional Airport, which is the official reporting station for Central Missouri, there had only been 1.6 inches of snowfall as of Thursday, he said. That's 6.3 inches below normal.
Public works crews for Cole County and Jefferson City spent Thursday getting their equipment ready for the storm.
"The information we have indicates that during the day, temperatures should stay above freezing so that should help," Cole County Public Works Director Eric Landwehr said. "We have some of our staff monitoring situations like this overnight, so that way if we need to get the crews we can get them out as soon as possible. We'll have all 25 trucks and four road graders available."
Landwehr and Jefferson City Operations Division Director Britt Smith said none of their staff members are dealing with COVID-19 issues so they have all of their regular drivers available.
"We are going to be looking at what the high winds could be doing to our pavement temperatures," Smith said. "Strong winds could take the heat out of the pavement faster, and depending on how fast pavements cool off, we could be dealing with more slick surfaces."
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Farther north, portions of northeastern Kansas and north-central, northeastern and northwestern Missouri are predicted to receive up to 4 inches of snow, with winds forecast to gust up to 45 mph.
The Missouri Department of Transportation's Traveler Information Map at traveler. modot.org/map offers updates on the condition of Missouri highways during bad weather conditions. The map can also be downloaded as a free app for Apple and Android devices. MoDOT also provides road condition information through its Customer Service Center at 888-ASK-MODOT.
Updates on road conditions in the Jefferson City area are available at https://jeffcitymogis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=7f760f79f8824c7ca703fd45480cc2df.
MoDOT also offered these safety tips for traveling in inclement weather:
- Wear your seat belt and don't drive distracted.
- Adjust your speed to the conditions. Do not use cruise control.
- Keep mirrors, windows and lights clean.
- Stay at least six car lengths back from snowplows and equipment. Plowed snow can create a cloud that can blind drivers following too closely.
- If your wipers are on, keep your headlights on. It's the law.
- If you encounter car troubles or are involved in a crash, remain in your vehicle.
This article was updated at 4:15 p.m. Jan. 14, 2021, with additional details.