COLUMBIA — It may not have amounted to much, but Monday's snowfall was the first to stick in Columbia and more nasty weather may be coming.
Temperatures are expected to warm to nearly 50 degrees Tuesday and then drop to 20 early Wednesday morning. A 50 percent chance of rain turning to snow and ice is forecast to begin late Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
If you drive...
- Tell a friend where you're going.
- Build in extra time for travel.
- Keep a full gas tank.
- Slow down.
- Increase your follow distances.
- Approach intersections with care.
- Keep an alternative route in mind.
- Listen to travel advisories.
- Bring a blanket, a flashlight, high-energy snacks and a shovel.
If you are trapped in your car...
- Stay inside to wait for assistance.
- Run the engine in spurts for warmth, but keep a rear window open and the exhaust pipe clear.
- Turn on a light to catch rescuers' attention.
- Alternate between sleeping and watching for help. If you have passengers, take turns.
- Don't panic.
If you lose heat or power in your house...
- Keep warm by closing doors to rooms you won't occupy.
- Use safe heat sources like wood and fuel-burning stoves.
- Dress in lightweight layers and wear a wool hat.
- Sleep under multiple lightweight blankets.
- Eat high-energy foods.
Source: Boone County Fire Protection District
On Monday, 8/10 of an inch of snow covered houses, lawns and cars around the city. People hauled out their mittens and scarves, scattered salt on sidewalks and drove cautiously to work on icy streets.
Boone Hospital Center's emergency wing was busy Monday, said spokesman Steve Adams. About 25 percent of visits were tied to the weather, including motor-vehicle accidents and falls, he said.
Columbia police reported at least 53 accidents. Most were minor fender-benders from cars sliding down hills or drivers traveling too fast, said Sgt. Shelley Jones of the traffic division.
Roads around the city were nearly snow-free by noon, although some remained slick, said Jill Stedem, spokeswoman for the city's Public Works Department.
At 3 a.m., road crews battled ice on bridges, one of the city's first priorities when combating winter weather, said Stedem.
Later, crews spread salt on major city arteries, bus routes, roads with hills and curves and roads near schools and hospitals.
The city does not clean residential streets unless more than 4 inches of snow have fallen, Stedem said.
Stedem said the city has surplus salt from the 2007 season. "Since we had a mild winter last year, we had about 1,200 tons of salt leftover," she said.
In August, when salt was cheaper, the city bought enough to fill up its 5,000-ton salt-holding facility. To make cinders, the city mixes free coal from the Columbia Power Plant with the salt.
If this winter is worse than last year's, the city is prepared to buy as much salt as needed, although it will cost more than it did this summer, Stedem said.
To find out more about the city's winter weather preparation and to see the priority map, go to gocolumbiamo.com/PublicWorks/Streets/index.php.