COLUMBIA — Round two of a wintry deluge hit Columbia Monday night. Continuing into Tuesday, the winter weather caused widespread power outages, Internet losses and business and school closures, including MU.
Road crews encountered few complications plowing streets after the snow began Monday night because there was not much traffic on the roads.
Unlike last week, MU, Columbia College and Stephens College will reopen after just one day of closure, but Columbia Public Schools' doors will remain shut Wednesday.
By 6 a.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service reported 9.8 inches of new snow at Columbia Regional Airport, where American Airlines canceled all six of its flights between Columbia and Chicago O'Hare and Dallas Fort-Worth International airports on Tuesday.
Total snow depth climbed to 14 inches, including the snow already on the ground from Thursday's storm, forecaster Gary Schmocker said. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches is expected by Wednesday evening.
The unusually saturated snow, which weighed down tree limbs and depressed power lines, led to thousands of power losses, said Chris Rohlfing, Boone Electric member services manager.
As of 3:45 p.m., 11,581 customers of Boone Electric Cooperative had no power. The first outages were reported around 4:30 a.m. and losses grew throughout the day. Many of those outages affected residents north of Interstate 70 near Range Line Street. Crews from Intercounty Electric Cooperative joined Boone Electric crews to help get power restored.
Customers of Columbia Water and Light also experienced power losses. The largest block of outages took place between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m. Fifteen hundred residents were without power as of 8:30 a.m., spokesman Steven Sapp said.
As of 3:45 p.m., there was one small outage left that affected 11 people in an area off West Broadway near Stadium Boulevard, said Connie Kacprowicz, a spokesperson from Columbia Water and Light. That issue was resolved around 5 p.m., meaning all power in Columbia was restored, according to a news release from the department. About 4,000 people in Columbia were affected throughout the day, she said.
Clad in heavy coats and knee-high, water resistant boots, Allison Dorr and Jessica Jennings made the slushy trek from East Campus to downtown in search of a stable Internet connection.
Mediacom's Internet service wilted under the weather Monday night. At 1 p.m. Tuesday, Mediacom confirmed that the previous evening's storm severed a fiber line at about 10:20 p.m. near Camdenton, obstructing Internet connections for subscribers in Jefferson City and Columbia.
"We planned on going to Panera, but it's closed," Jennings said. "Now we're trying Lakota."
Dorr called the Internet failure a "major inconvenience."
"I think everyone planned on getting work done today, but that didn't pan out," Dorr said.
Internet service was restored around 3:30 p.m., Phyllis Peters, spokesperson for Mediacom, said.
Both women stepped cautiously through the puddles of opaque melting sludge that pooled on the surface of Ninth Street near the Missouri United Methodist Church.
"The roads are better than I thought they were going to be, but it's still hard to walk," Dorr said.
Road crews were able to plow streets with few difficulties, unlike last week when inclement weather temporarily shut down a swath of Interstate 70, led to drivers abandoning their cars on busy roads and resulted in 11 injury accidents during an 11-hour stretch.
There were few reported crashes as of noon Tuesday. By 12:45 p.m., the county public works had plowed about 50 percent of major roads. By 2:30 p.m., city road crews began plowing residential streets. Despite resuming operation, trash pick-up is one day behind and Columbia Transit's Wednesday schedule could be altered.