Winter weather conditions grow hazardous on Christmas Eve

Thursday, December 24, 2009 | 3:09 p.m. CST; updated 3:18 p.m. CST, Thursday, December 24, 2009

COLUMBIA — Those who have travel plans on Christmas Day should allow for hazardous road conditions across the state.

In Columbia, heavy rain Thursday night was expected to turn to snow and sleet around 1 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

New snow and sleet accumulation of 2 to 4 inches is possible, the weather service said.

Snow and ice accumulation along with blowing snow in western Missouri may cause near blizzard conditions for drivers into early Christmas morning.  The Missouri Department of Transportation urged drivers to stay home unless absolutely necessary.

Those driving on Christmas Day can call the MoDOT customer service line at 888-275-6636 for the latest road conditions or go to the traveler information map on the MoDOT web site.

MoDOT spokesman Mike Teel emphasized that those who must drive should anticipate spending extra time on the road because of dangerous driving conditions across the state. The state's Transportation Department had vehicles ready and staff on standby to clear highways and other major routes, Teel said.

The department predicted that U.S. 65 between Sedalia and Warsaw would be one of the most hazardous roads because of blowing snow.

The National Weather Service in St. Louis reported that the main road hazard would be wind for vehicles with high profiles.

The rest of Missouri was under a winter weather advisory until 6 a.m. Friday. The rain is expected to turn into sleet and snow across the state early Christmas Day.

A winter storm warning is in affect for Bourbon, Crawford, Cherokee, Vernon, Barton, Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties until 6 p.m.

The National Weather Service predicts up to 8 inches of snow, 1/10 inch of ice and strong winds for those counties.  

According to Campus Facilities, MU will clear only essential and primary routes on campus Friday.


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