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UPDATE: Columbia prepares for predicted winter storm; schools closed

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 | 7:00 p.m. CST; updated 7:34 a.m. CST, Thursday, February 21, 2013
Snow plows are fully prepared for Thursday's expected snow storm on Wednesday at the Columbia Public Operations Grissum Building.

COLUMBIA — A winter storm was forecast to bring significant snow and hazardous travel conditions to the Columbia area and other parts of Missouri beginning Thursday morning.

A winter storm warning is in effect for Columbia from 6 a.m. Thursday until midnight Thursday.

The latest forecasts and other information on the storm can be found at the website of the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

Potential closings and cancellations from the storm can be found at the KOMU website.

COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Schools will not be in session Thursday. A text alert was sent out at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday with the announcement.

School closing updates can be found on the Columbia Public School’s website. In addition, parents will receive text alerts and emails.

SNOWFALL: A Wednesday late-afternoon forecast from the National Weather Service predicted 4.5 inches of snowfall in Columbia, with accumulations of 3.8 inches in Jefferson city and 7.2 inches to the north in Shelbina. 

Service forecaster Julie Phillipson said snowfall would begin from 5 to 6 a.m.

SNOW REMOVAL: The Columbia Public Works Department planned to treat priority routes in advance of the storm with a brine solution. Snow removal information for the city, including priority streets for snow removal, can be found on the Public Works website.

TRACKING CITY SNOW REMOVAL: The city will update snow removal operations and provide other weather-related information on its Facebook page

ROAD CONDITIONS: A traveler information map on the Missouri Department of Transportation website provides the latest road conditions statewide.

COMMUNITY PREPARATIONS: Westlake Ace Hardware on Business Loop 70 East reported increased sales since snow and ice appeared in the forecast on Monday. Most sales are in the form of ice melt, while snow shovel sales are down this season, department specialist Andrew Lawrence said. As of Wednesday morning, the store had sold 63 bags of Earth-wise ice melt. 

Ben Schmidt, the store's floor manager, estimated that it would serve about 600 customers before the storm is projected to hit Thursday morning. 

Customers making snow-related purchases at Lowe's were buying ice melt, generators, snow brushes and gloves, said Sean Huff, manager of the lawn and garden department.

Bruce Jenkins, a maintenance technician for the Delta Tau Delta fraternity at MU, loaded his cart on at Lowe's with 10 40-pound bags of salt and five snow shovels to be used on walkways and driveways at the fraternity house.

“We’ll apply as the storm hits,” Jenkins said on Wednesday. “Tomorrow is trash day, so if our driveway isn’t de-iced the trash truck can’t access the dumpster. We’re trying to anticipate things like that.”

Help us report road conditions in your area at bit.ly/CoMoSnow. And share pictures of what it looks like where you are by tweeting with the hashtag #CoMoSnow or emailing submission@ColumbiaMissourian.com. Be sure to include your location.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.


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