Freezing rain and snow expected for the weekend

Friday, January 31, 2014 | 2:59 p.m. CST; updated 3:30 p.m. CST, Friday, January 31, 2014

COLUMBIA — Freezing rain and snow are in store for Columbia residents this weekend. Cities north of Columbia had already received the first wave of winter weather Friday morning.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for mid-Missouri, including Columbia. The advisory was in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday.

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Light snow could start Friday afternoon with an expected 0.5 inches of accumulation, said Butch Dye, the hydrometeorological technician for the National Weather Service.

Freezing rain is expected to begin after midnight, which could result in an accumulation of 0.1 inches of ice, Dye said. Temperatures will remain steady in the mid 20s.

The Columbia Public Works Department said trucks are prepared to respond to today's changing road conditions. On Thursday, hills, curves and bridges were treated with a salt brine, and roads might be treated again today, depending on the conditions.

On Saturday, Columbia could see more snow starting around noon, with another 0.5 inches of accumulation, Dye said. Residents should expect a low temperature of around 12 degrees.

Freezing rain Saturday morning will likely result in an additional 0.1 inches of ice, for a total of 0.2 inches of ice, Dye said.

"Any amount of precipitation, even if it's just a little ice or snow, can cause slick roads, so we encourage drivers to exercise caution, allow extra time for their travel, and plan ahead," said Sally Oxenhandler, the customer relations manager for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Information about road conditions can be found on MoDOT's Traveler Information Map.

Macon and Moberly were some of the first mid-Missouri towns to experience the winter storm Thursday night and into Friday morning.

Rob Kutscher, general manager of Westlake Ace Hardware in Macon, isn't upset about the snow — for him, it's good for business.

“It is snowing like crazy, and we are selling ice melt like crazy, Kutscher said. "This is a good thing for us.”

Businesses are taking precautions to keep their customers safe with ice melt, but it doesn’t seem like residents are preparing for a snowpocalypse this time around. Kutscher said people are buying things to keep them busy indoors, such as paint and other general household repair items.

“It’s so late in the season, people already have shovels. It doesn’t seem like they are preparing for anything bad,” Kutscher said.

Kutscher commented that the roads in town are mostly covered in snow, but that MoDOT has cleared at least one driving lane on the highways.

Similar conditions were also seen at the Walnut Acres Bed and Breakfast in Huntsville.

Innkeeper Patricia Hopper is betting that the snow is the reason her phone lines have been quiet this morning. She said the roads are covered in snow and everyone is staying in.

“Kept all my business at home, I haven’t had anybody call me,” Hopper said of the snow.

She doesn’t expect that to change tonight.

“They won’t come the extra miles to Huntsville, they’ll stay in Moberly,” Hopper said of potential guests.

Though the bed and breakfasts are slow today, the road conditions aren’t hurting Moberly restaurant The Brick. Co-owner Judy Clements hasn’t had a lack of customers due to the weather.

“We’ve had a good little breakfast,” Clements said. “We did have a customer that came from Columbia saying that there was nothing going on there, that it’s a lot worse here.”

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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