COLUMBIA — Temperatures dropped 19 degrees between midnight and 11 a.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service in St. Louis.
A cold front from Canada moved through central Missouri, bringing light snow and rain.
Between 5:30 and 7 a.m. Thursday, 13 car accidents occurred across Boone County as a result of the weather, said Gale Blomenkamp, division chief at the Boone County Fire Protection District.
“If you were out at about 5:30, the roads were just wet. In a matter of ten to fifteen minutes, it turned to ice. Temperatures dropped to below freezing,” Blomenkamp said.
The Fire Protection District responded to nine accidents, while the Columbia Fire Department responded to three and the Southern Boone County Fire Department responded to one, Blomenkamp said.
“The cold front moved in from the north to northwest,” he said. “So you could see the progression of accidents. The first parts were up north, and as the cold air moved, we started getting more accidents around the city of Columbia and down south.”
Most of the accidents were minor or non-injury, Blomenkamp said.
Because the change occurred so fast, people were still traveling at normal speeds when wet conditions turned to ice.
Scott Truett, senior forecaster for the National Weather Service in St. Louis, said the average temperature over the last 30 years for Jan. 16 and 17 has been 37 degrees.
“Temperatures are below normal ... We’re going to be pretty chilly heading into the weekend,” Truett said, predicting a particularly cold Saturday.
Temperatures are expected to drop into the single digits Friday night with a wind chill below zero, according to the National Weather Service.
Another arctic cold front will follow Thursday morning’s cold front to push already low temperatures to 7 degrees, National Weather Service meteorologist Doug Tilly said.
Columbia is faring better than other areas, according to weather service warnings. While Columbia will have wind chills at minus 5, northeast Missouri will suffer wind chills of minus 14. Wind chill is calculated by the temperature and wind speed, Tilly said.
Columbia’s soonest warm-up will be Monday, Tilly said. Temperatures may reach the high 20s. A westerly warm front will raise temperatures a bit, he said, but don’t expect the winter weather to let up anytime soon. Typically, Columbia’s average temperature doesn’t rise to the 40s until mid- to late February, he said.
Residents have been experiencing a milder winter since December’s recorded temperatures were warmer than normal, Tilly said, but the cold January weather is right on track.
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will rise to the high 20s on Sunday, with a 30 percent chance of snow on Monday.