And the adverse weather is expected to continue through today, overnight and into Friday morning. Forecasts indicated the sky could dump as much as a foot of snow on top of a sheet of ice and sleet.
Bill Miller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis, urged people to “be prepared.” The weather could be bad enough to cause power outages, school cancellations and traffic accidents.
Mid-Missourians “might want to stock up on extra batteries, blankets, food and medicines,” Miller said.
Here are some quick facts about the weather change:
A STEEP DROP
Wednesday’s unseasonably high temperature was 64.3 degrees, and that was at 8:55 in the morning. By 10:30 p.m., the temperature had plummeted to 32.4 degrees, according to MU’s Stanborn Field weather station Web site. The temperature today was forecast to reach no higher than 28 degrees.
THE NITTY GRITTY
The weather service forecast for Wednesday night was for downright perilous weather today and tonight. It called for freezing rain and sleet before 9 a.m., freezing drizzle from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., then a mix of snow, freezing rain and sleet after 3 p.m. Miller said up to half an inch of ice and snow could accumulate today. But heavy snow is expected overnight, with accumulations of 8 to 12 inches possible. Wind gusts as high as 28 mph are expected. There’s a slight chance of even more snow Friday morning.
BE IN THE KNOW
If you absolutely must hit the road today, you can get information on road conditions by calling the Missouri Department of Transportation at 888-275-6636 or 800-222-6400.
For information on school cancellations, check the Columbia Public Schools Web site at www.columbia.k12.mo.us. If your power is out, check local radio stations with a battery-powered radio.
For up-to-the-minute online weather data and information, you can check the Sanborn Field weather station at MU at www.aes.missouri.edu/ or the National Weather Service’s Central Region Headquarters at www.crh.noaa.gov/crh.
You can check out the city’s Snow Removal Priority Map at www.gocolumbiamo.com. Select the link under “Announcements.”