Crews clear roads, but cold temperatures, more snow coming

Thursday, January 2, 2014 | 5:35 p.m. CST; updated 5:52 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 2, 2014
Two to three inches of snow fell across Boone County Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. City crews worked quickly to clear first and second priority roads and moved on to treating residential streets.

COLUMBIA — Major roads in Columbia were cleared Thursday morning after a night of snowfall, but more snow and below zero temperatures are expected in the coming week.

Two inches of snow fell in Columbia on Wednesday night and two to three inches fell across Boone County, according to Fred Glass, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

The Columbia Public Works Department said Thursday morning that first and second priority roads in Columbia had been cleared, treated and were "passable."

Street crews entered residential areas by 7:45 a.m., and were depositing a mixture of salt, calcium chloride and cinder on roads. Salt and calcium chloride help to lower the melting temperature and cinder improves traction while also assisting in melting.

Glass said the temperature in Columbia was around 13 degrees Thursday morning, below the 38-degree national average. For Thursday night, temperatures in the city will drop to around zero degrees, and a few degrees below zero outside the city.

Over the next seven days, temperatures will warm slightly before plummeting early next week. Saturday will be the warmest, with temperatures around 40 degrees, Glass said. But by Saturday night and into Sunday morning, residents can expect more snow. It's to early to tell just how much snow will arrive, Glass said, but "the potential is there for a couple of inches."

Glass said residents should expect "bitterly cold" conditions for Monday and Tuesday, with highs around 6 degrees on Monday and 15 degrees on Tuesday and lows of minus 6 degrees on Sunday and Monday night.

Gale Blomenkamp, battalion chief with the Boone County Fire Protection District, said there were two snow-related accidents along Interstate 70 East on Thursday morning but only one involved an injury. Just before 8 a.m., a white pick-up truck struck a bridge on the interstate, and one person was taken to Boone Hospital Center, he said.

Reduced traffic due to the holidays and school breaks and early notice of weather conditions probably accounted for why there were so few incidences, Blomenkamp said. Road crews also did an "outstanding job" clearing roads early, "and that made a huge difference," he said.

Steven Sapp, spokesman for the Public Works Department, said the department began sending out alerts as early as noon Wednesday. It issued around 50 citations Wednesday night for cars parked along snow priority routes where there was more than 2 inches of snow. Most citations were in East Campus, North Cedar Lake, and along the edge of downtown, he said. The department did not tow any vehicles.

Sapp said the department was trying to get people in the habit of remembering to move their cars, but understands that it's a new practice, one that both the city and community is still getting used to. "We're hoping for willful compliance," he said.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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