UPDATE: Blizzard warning until noon Wednesday

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | 10:20 a.m. CST; updated 10:43 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Photo courtesy of Nina Slaney (@ninamarie_4). Nearly 17 inches of snow in East Campus.

Blizzard could last another 18 hours

6:30 p.m. A blizzard warning for Boone County remains in effect until noon Wednesday. Snow will continue to be moderate to heavy throughout the night, according to the National Weather Service.  


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Winds will gust to 40 mph tonight, gradually diminishing Wednesday morning. Blowing, drifting snow will cause hazardous driving conditions throughout the region with visibility down to a quarter-mile at times.

17 inches of snow reported so far — officially

6:15 p.m. As of 5:50 p.m., the National Weather Service was reporting an accumulation of 17 inches of snow at Columbia Regional Airport.

The record 24-hour snowfall to date is 19.7 inches, set Jan. 18-19, 1995. A blizzard warning is in effect through noon Wednesday, with a total 21 to 22 inches expected.

Most city offices closed Wednesday

5:46 p.m. At City Hall: city manager's office, city clerk, Finance (licenses, billing, customer service), Law, Information Technology, Planning, Public Works, Public Communications.

At Gentry Building: Office of Cultural Affairs, Parks and Recreation Administration.

Other Parks and Recreation closures: Activity and Recreation Center, 1701 W. Ash; Armory Sports Center and C.A.R.E. office, 701 E. Ash St.; Stephens Lake Activity Center, 2311 E. Walnut St.; Rock Quarry Park House, 2002 Grindstone Parkway; Riechmann Pavilion, 2300 E. Walnut St.

At Howard Municipal Building: Human Resources, Employee Health, Municipal Court.

Office of Neighborhood Services.

Public Health and Human Services: Administration, Animal Control, Community Services, Environmental Health, Nursing, Social Services, WIC.

Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Water and Light: Administration, Engineering.

5 p.m. Driveway Report

5:30 p.m. We asked how much snow is in your driveway. You braved the blizzard to find out. Here are the latest responses:

  • Range Line: 15 inches (via Ben Frentzel)
  • Central Columbia: 14 inches (via @phillipc)
  • Samantha Court: 12 inches (via @robweir)
  • Green Meadows: 15 - 16 inches (via @irritablecannary)
  • East side of town: reports of 11 and 17 inches (via Clyde Bentley, @ninamarie_4)

Emergency services still running smoothly

5:21 p.m. According to Donna Hargis, operations manager for the Boone County Office of Emergency Management, emergency services have continued to run smoothly despite record snowfall.

Police, fire and medical response teams each have their own equipment to aid them in responding to emergency calls, Hargis said.

“County fire does have four-wheel drive (vehicles) that they’re using to get to calls. They’re also using snow blades,” she said. “Ambulances are getting assistance from all of the highway departments. If they’re going to a call and they’re having difficulty getting there, they’re going to get assistance from any of the city, county or state highway trucks.”

Emergency dispatch services have mostly received calls from stranded motorists and reports of weather-related medical emergencies.

I-70 closed statewide

5:18 p.m. Heavy snow has shut down Interstate 70 from Kansas City to St. Louis, according to a Missouri Department of Transportation news release. Interstate 44 has also been closed from Springfield to the Oklahoma state line.

Kansas City International Airport closed

5:00 p.m. Kansas City International Airport was closed as of 4:03 p.m. today. The time and date when it will reopen are not known at this point.

Many streets impassable; city urges patience

4:01 p.m. No city streets have been officially closed, but all are snow-covered and many are not drivable. The Public Works Department estimates it will take several days to clear 500 miles of city streets.

Residents are asked to stay off the roads and avoid parking on the streets.

State covered in snow

3:45 p.m. Here's a look at the latest snow totals from around the state.

  • Byrnes Mill: 1.5 inches of sleet
  • Edina: 5 inches
  • Morrison: 11.5 inches
  • Rhineland: 11.5 inches
  • Hannibal: 7 inches
  • Ellisville: 2.0 inches of snow and sleet
  • Palmyra: 5.2 inches
  • Ashland: 10.5 inches
  • Marthasville: 1.8 inches of sleet
  • Wellsville: 6 inches
  • Dardenne Prairie: 3.7 inches of sleet
  • Shelbyville: 6 inches
  • Mexico: 10 inches

3 p.m. Driveway Report

3:20 p.m. We asked how much snow is in your driveway. You braved the blizzard to find out. Here are the latest responses. Check back at 5 p.m. for more.

  • The Greens off Clark Lane: 8½ inches
  • Campus View Apartments: 8½ inches
  • North of I-70: 10 inches, drifts of 2 feet
  • South of Rock Bridge High School: 11 inches
  • East Campus: 11½ inches

Power outage

3:00 p.m. Power went out briefly around 2:15 p.m. along Business Loop 70, North Seventh Street, Wilkes Boulevard and Washington Avenue. Crews are checking the line for debris, Tony Cunningham of Columbia Water and Light said.

I-70 closed

2:20 p.m. Interstate 70 is closed through Boone County. The closing affects I-70 from mile markers 78 to 148.

Eric Schroeder, assistant engineer for MoDOT, said there are 10 inches of snow. Visibility is zero.

"Cars are literally driving straight off the roadway," Schroeder said.

There is no timeline for reopening I-70, but Schroeder said MoDOT is using all the resources available to get the interstate reopened as soon as possible.

"Looking at the weather, this may be a while," he said. 

Schools canceled Wednesday

1:35 p.m. MU, Columbia Public Schools and Central Methodist University have canceled their Wednesday classes. MU will announce by 4 p.m. Wednesday whether Thursday classes are canceled.

UM System administration employees are included in this closure. All MU Health Care hospitals remain open 24/7. The MU Student Center, Student Recreation Complex (use Hitt Street entrance only) and most dining facilities are open. Ellis Library is closed.

After the weather emergency, students and faculty will receive information about  makeup classes, missed exams and appropriate adjustments to the academic calendar. Faculty should not make any adjustments to class and final exam schedules until these discussions and final decisions occur later this week or next.

1 p.m. Driveway Report

1:15 p.m. How much snow was in your driveway at 1 p.m.? You responded by Twitter and e-mail. Here are the results. Check in again at 3 and 5 p.m.

  • North of I-70: 6 inches
  • Parkade: 6 inches, drifts 11-12 inches
  • Samantha Court: 6 1/4 inches
  • Clark Lane and Hanover: 6 1/2 inches
  • East Campus: 7 inches
  • South side of town: 8 inches
  • Highway 163, south of Columbia: 8 inches

Thunder possible as blizzard continues

12:55 p.m. Thunder may be heard at any time during the storm, Fred Glass of the National Weather Service said. This phenomenon — thunder and lightning during a snowstorm — is known as thundersnow.

For the next 10 hours, snow will fall at the rate of 1 to 2 inches an hour and wind will gust upward from 35 mph. Glass said wind speed will pick up to more than 40 mph in the evening and won't let up until Wednesday night.

Update: Post offices remain open

12:45 p.m. Post offices will remain open until 7 p.m. as usual.

Cheryl Hudson, customer relations coordinator, said post offices were scheduled to close window services at noon but later received instructions to stay open.

Mail carriers will use discretion on delivery if there are safety concerns.

Columbia tops the snowfall list

11:50 a.m. Denver is expecting 1 inch of snow. Champaign, Ill., might receive up to 17 inches of snow.

The Weather Channel's list of expected snowfalls shows Columbia at the head of the list with 16 to 20 inches predicted.

Missouri basketball team in Kansas City

11:35 a.m. Because of the heavy blizzard that is striking over one-third of the country, the Missouri men's basketball team left Columbia on Monday for its game at Oklahoma State on Wednesday. Under normal weather conditions, the team would have left Tuesday.

Dave Reiter, spokesman for the MU basketball team, said Tuesday morning that the team is in Kansas City. They are having practice Tuesday at Park University. Reiter said that the team might try to fit in some travel Tuesday if the weather permits, but added that traveling  to Stillwater, Okla., on Wednesday is not out of the question.

Tipoff on Wednesday is at 8 p.m. CST.

Snow removal underway

11:25 a.m. City crews have begun plowing the streets, but it could take several days before they are clear, according to a release from the Columbia Public Works Department.

Crews are running 18 snowplows, along with additional equipment. Plows will be rotating between priority routes and residential streets. To help with the snow removal process, residents are asked not to park along the streets if possible.

11 a.m. driveway report:

11:20 Snowfall around town is building. A Twitter request to measure driveways at 11 a.m. returned amounts of between 3 inches and 5.5 inches. Some measures:

  • Old Southwest: 5.5 inches
  • Clark Lane and Hanover: 3 inches 
  • Green Meadows: 4 inches
  • Samantha Court: 4 inches
  • Waynesboro Drive.: 3.5 inches
  • Cliff Drive: 3 inches
  • Scott Boulevard: 1.5 inches, 30 minutes after being cleared
  • Parkade: 3 inches, with 5.5-inch drifts

Noon most treacherous for driving

10:15 a.m. Although MoDOT wants drivers to stay home, it said drivers should be most aware of treacherous weather conditions at noon today because of increased wind and snowfall.

Average rate of snowfall throughout the day is expected to hover around half of an inch to an inch per hour. With this much snow falling, it is difficult for plows to keep up.

Drivers should stay inside their cars if they slide off of the road.

Those stranded on the side of the road should call 911. Law enforcement officials will be responding to emergencies during the blizzard.

Columbia Regional Airport open; flights canceled

9:35 a.m. All flights have been canceled Tuesday at Columbia Regional Airport.

"Memphis is dealing with the weather, as well," said Jill Stedem, Columbia public information specialist. 

The airport usually runs six flights per day to and from Memphis.

The airport will open, however, and maintenance crews have been keeping the runway clear as part of their regular maintenance.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport has canceled 359 flights Tuesday because of the severe weather in the metro area, as well as across the country at their major hubs.

Kansas City International Airport has canceled 229 flights.

More than 600 flights have been canceled at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

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Bill Fisher February 1, 2011 | 2:52 p.m.

We actually got mail today. The mailman not only showed up, but he had large packages that required him to leave his warm vehicle and walk them to our front door through a foot of snow. I wish I'd had cash on hand to tip him.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 2, 2011 | 11:19 a.m.

Here's my time lapse video of the snowfall:

(Report Comment)

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