COLUMBIA — Between 8 and 12 inches of snow are expected to accumulate in central and western Missouri from Saturday night to Sunday night, said Scott Truett, senior forecaster for the National Weather Service in St. Louis.
In Friday's forecast, the Weather Service predicted 5 to 8 inches of snow.
According to a graphic on the National Weather Service's website, the Columbia area's expected snowfall is 8.1 inches.
There is also a possibility for thundersnow in the area, Truett said, especially Sunday morning. If that happens, the amount of snowfall could increase even more. 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 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."
The Missouri Department of Transportation was advising against travel, "unless absolutely necessary," through early Sunday in central and northern parts of the state, according to a news release Saturday.
Truett warned there may be a lull between two waves of snowfall, but not to mistake it for the end of the snowstorm. That lull is expected to begin Saturday night in Columbia, and end before dawn Sunday.
The snow before the lull may not be very heavy, Truett said, but the second wave of snow will hit hard and fast and could be very heavy throughout Sunday.
Columbia Public Works announced on its Facebook page that it will have a seven-person crew pre-treating residential streets at midnight, starting from the outside city limits toward the city center. At 5 a.m. Sunday, a full crew will be sent out on the streets. Streets will be cleared starting with first- and second-priority roads, then residential streets in central Columbia.
The posting advised residents to move cars off roads and into driveways and to avoid travel.
Organizers of Sunday's annual Palm Sunday processional in downtown Columbia had been planning to cancel the event in the case of temperatures below 40 degrees or if there is rain or snow on the ground.
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.
Supervising editor is Simina Mistreanu.