Unexpected snow fell beneath radar

Sunday, January 9, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:59 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Columbia residents pinning their hopes on Friday’s forecast of zero precipitation, warming temperatures and some sunshine received a surprise when up to 2 inches of snow fell in the area Friday afternoon.

Joe Pedigo, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis, said weak weather disturbances, such as the snow Friday, can only be foreseen close to the day they occur.

“We can’t forecast minor weather events a few days out,” Pedigo said. “Weak ones are hardest to predict.”

To issue a winter weather advisory, 3 inches of precipitation must be expected. Pedigo said the chance of precipitation in Columbia on Friday morning was 50 percent.

KOMU/Channel 8’s forecast, which runs in the Missourian, predicted a high temperature of 40 degrees and no precipitation for Friday. The temperature reached 31 degrees.

By 4 p.m. that day, however, snow had begun falling in Columbia and didn’t stop for more than four hours. The weather service recorded 11/2 to 2 inches in Boone County. More than 3 inches of rain had fallen since Monday, including less than one-quarter of an inch of sleet.

On Saturday afternoon, the Missouri Highway Patrol Troop F said there were no snow-related accidents involving injury in Boone County. Traffic records from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department and the Columbia Police Department could not be obtained.

The weather service predicts temperatures as high as 50 degrees next week until Wednesday night. They are expected to remain below freezing for the rest of the week. Rain is expected Monday through Wednesday, and snow is expected Thursday.

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