Storm could bring 6 inches of snow to Columbia late Monday

Saturday, February 23, 2013 | 6:01 p.m. CST; updated 9:40 p.m. CST, Saturday, February 23, 2013

COLUMBIA — Still recovering from Thursday’s snowfall of 10.2 inches, Columbia residents will have to prepare for a winter storm that is projected to hit late Monday and produce at least six inches of snow.

The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement Saturday morning alerting that its data “indicates that a major storm is a very real possibility for parts of Missouri and Illinois late Monday and into Tuesday."

The weather system as of Saturday had all the indicators — ample moisture, cold air, and a very strong upward and divergent air circulation — necessary for a major winter storm. Nevertheless, the storm's exact path could change by Monday.

Forecaster Mark Britt predicted a rain and snow mix will come to the Columbia area late Monday and change to snow overnight, producing at least six inches of snow.

A winter storm watch was issued about 4 p.m. Saturday warning Columbia of 10 to 20 mph winds with gusts up to 30 mph, six to eight inches of snowfall, and hazardous travel conditions. The winter storm watch will expire at noon Tuesday.

Britt classified the coming storm as a “classic wintertime system,” which is different from the unusual thunder snowstorm that occurred Thursday, bringing Columbia high and rapid levels of snowfall and freezing rain.

According to projections Saturday, Monday’s storm, which was plowing through the Pacific Northwest on Saturday, will hit western and northern parts of Missouri from Kansas City to Kirksville, where Britt projected the snow to get over eight inches.

Areas from Sedalia to Moberly are predicted to be hit the hardest and have the most snow. The Columbia area has lesser chances of heavy snow. However, should the current track turn south, Columbia might be more in the storm’s path. Should the storm turn north, Columbia would receive less precipitation.

City and residential streets were still in rough shape after Thursday's storm, and another six inches would challenge road crews still working to clear the streets. Columbia Public Works reported that cold temperatures and hard packs of snow made it difficult for the plows to break the snowpack, and vehicles stalled and parked on the road made it harder for the crews to clear pavement.

The clearing is scheduled to continue and finish before the Monday morning commute.

Supervising editor is Simina Mistreanu.

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