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LIVE UPDATE: Spring snow hits Columbia

Sunday, March 24, 2013 | 7:40 a.m. CDT; updated 4:59 p.m. CDT, Sunday, March 24, 2013
Between 5 and 7 inches of a heavy, wet snow fell across Boone County on Sunday, prompting closures and hampering travel.

COLUMBIA — Road crews have plowed first- and second-priority streets in Columbia and are now working to clear residential neighborhoods.

Crews have been plowing since 5 a.m. and will work until all roads have been plowed, Columbia Public Works spokesman Steven Sapp said. However, blowing and drifting snow may cause plowed roads to become covered again.

Columbia received 9.2 inches of total snow accumulation on Sunday, said Carl Sieczynski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis. With some melting and settling, approximately 7 to 8 inches of snow are still on the ground, with a chance of less than 1 inch of snow still to come, he said.

That means there will still likely be snow on the roadways for the Monday morning commute.

Sapp said commuters should be cautious Monday and to be aware there will likely be slick spots caused by blowing snow and the refreeze of slushy snow on some roadways.

The Missouri Department of Transportation's Traveler Information Map shows I-70 west of Columbia is clear, whereas roads east of Columbia are still covered.

Here's a list of closings, reports of road conditions and weather advisories, which will be updated throughout the day.

3:30 p.m. By mid-afternoon, Ameren Missouri and the Boone Electric Cooperative are reporting no more active power outages.

2 p.m. Columbia Public Works crews are moving into Columbia residential areas to remove snow, according to a post on the Columbia Public Works Department's Facebook page.

The city Sewer Division, Water and Light and Parks and Recreation departments will be assisting with snow removal in residential areas.

"We also want to remind you, that it can take 24 to 36 hours to touch every residential street in Columbia," the post read.

1:30 p.m. Crews are making good progress clearing priority Columbia roads, an email update from the Columbia Public Works Department said. Public Works crews are clearing first- and second-priority roads and downtown roads are being cleared by crews from the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.

As soon as first- and second-priority routes are cleared, crews will begin clearing residential streets, the email said.

12:25 p.m. The Activity and Recreation Center will close at 2 p.m. due to the weather.

12 p.m. A growing number of power outages are being reported across Boone County, though they're still a small percentage of all Boone County customers. At 11:50 a.m., Boone Electric Cooperative was showing 13 active outages and 60 members affected. Ameren Missouri was showing 252 customers with no power.

To report an outage to Ameren, you can go online or call them at 800-552-7583. To report an outage to Boone Electric, call 573-449-4181.

11:45 a.m. Due to blowing snow, the main runway at Columbia Regional Airport will remain closed and American Airlines has canceled flights today, according to a post on the Columbia Public Works' Facebook page.

11:30 a.m. KOMU employees have returned to the station after a short evacuation Sunday morning. The building was evacuated shortly before 10 a.m. due to high winds and a heavy build up of snow on the station's broadcast tower. All working members of the KOMU team are now safely back in the building.

11:30 a.m. Megabus services to and from Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis have been canceled and affected customers have been contacted with advice, according to a post on the Megabus website. Service to and from Oklahoma City, Norman and Springfield have been also been canceled.

11:20 a.m. Most downtown businesses are closed, but a few are still open. Lakota Coffee, Sub Shop, Subway and Panera Bread are open now, but may close early. Jimmy John's is open and plans to start deliveries soon. Coffee Zone is also open and will remain open until 9 p.m.

The Columbia Mall is open as well, but some stores within the mall have closed, including American Eagle Outfitters, Sunglasses Hut and Coldwater Creek.

11 a.m. Boone Electric Cooperative is reporting six power outages affecting 26 members west of Columbia. To keep tabs on the number of outages among customers served by Boone Electric Cooperative, check out the company's online outage map.

10:45 a.m. According to the Ameren Missouri outage map, 165 customers are without power in Boone County as of 10:40 a.m. That's about 4 percent of Ameren's 3,888 Boone County customers.

10:20 a.m. According to tweets, some downtown businesses, including Shakespeare’s Pizza and Kaldi’s Coffee, have closed due to the snow, but may reopen later in the day. Also, today’s performance of "The Little Mermaid" at the Missouri Theatre has been canceled and will be rescheduled.

10:15 a.m. The main runway at the Columbia Regional Airport is closed as crews try to clear snow and ice, according to a post on the airport's Facebook page.

Travelers should expect delays originating from hub airports like Chicago, airport spokesman Steven Sapp said.

Columbia Regional's 1:55 p.m. flight to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and 5:40 p.m. flight to Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport have been canceled. The airport is updating flight statuses on its website.

9:35 a.m. The Daniel Boone Regional Library tweeted that it will be closed Sunday due to the snowstorm.

9:35 a.m. The incident at 1-70 at the U.S. 63 connector has been cleared.

9:30 a.m. The Columbia Public Works Department and the Columbia/Boone County Office of Emergency Management are reporting slick roads and jackknifed semi trucks on I-70.  The Missouri Department of Transportation website reports that a tractor trailer truck stalled in a driving lane on westbound I-70 at the U.S. 63 connector around 8:15 a.m.

8:45 a.m. The downtown Blessing of the Palms parade has been canceled due to Sunday morning's snow, said Rev. Larry Williams of Missouri United Methodist Church.

8:15 a.m. Between two and four inches of snow have fallen in Columbia, said Jim Sieveking, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

Sunday's total snowfall is expected to reach between 8 to 10 inches and with the thundersnow that has already hit the area, the snow is falling at a rate of approximately 2.5 inches per hour, Sieveking said.

A graphic on the National Weather Service's website listed the Columbia area's expected snowfall at 8.1 inches, according to a previous Missourian report. Winds will pick up throughout the day Sunday and could include gusts up to 35 mph.

The Columbia/Boone County Office of Emergency Management warned earlier in the weekend that the snowstorm is expected to come in two waves. "We are urging citizens not to let their guard down after the first wave," the office stated in a news release late Saturday. "People will wake up during the lull between waves and may think the forecast was off. The bulk of the snow will come during the second wave and it will come fast and hard."

Columbia Public Works crews have been working to clear roadways since 5 a.m. Sunday. Because the snow is expected to fall at rapid rates later in the day, other departments such as Parks and Recreation and Water and Light also will help with clearing residential streets, according to a news release.

Columbia snowfall has only reached 8 inches in March once in the last 30 years, with the area receiving 8.8 inches on March 23 and 24, 1990.

Road conditions

Snow removal information for the city, including priority streets for snow removal, can be found on the Public Works website. A map of the priority streets in Columbia can be found here.

To get the latest on road conditions statewide, check the traveler information map on the Missouri Department of Transportation website.

Air travel

10:10 a.m. Main runway at Columbia Regional Airport is closed. At least one early morning flight Sunday at Columbia Regional Airport had been delayed. Ticketed passengers are advised to contact their carrier for up-to-the-minute flight status or to check www.flymidmo.com.

Weather forecasts, advisories

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

Motorists are being advised not to travel once the storm begins so that crews can begin snow removal, according to MoDOT officials.


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