City sets snowfall record

Saturday, December 15, 2007 | 6:06 p.m. CST; updated 2:01 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — As of 4 p.m. Saturday, the Columbia Regional Airport officially had 4.1 inches of snow, and the amount was expected to increase overnight.

It was already a record snowfall for Dec. 15, according to Scott Truett, senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in St. Louis. The previous record of 3 inches was set in 1987.

Five to 7 inches of snow were expected to accumulate before midnight Saturday.

By Tuesday, temperatures are expected to climb to the mid-40s and stay above the freezing point for most of the week, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow began falling late Friday night, and 2 to 4 inches fell before Saturday morning, said Butch Dye of the National Weather Service.

Public Works Department crews worked to clear roadways Friday night and began pre-treating priority streets with salt two hours before snow fell, according to a city news release.

Between midnight Friday and Saturday afternoon, 33 accidents were reported, but the majority did not involve injuries, said Chuck Mastalski, 911 center staff supervisor.

“Road crews with the Missouri Department of Transportation, Boone County Public Works and the city of Columbia have been out,” Mastalski said. “There have been no road closings to my knowledge. Outlying, lesser-traveled roads are always a little more difficult to access.”

The Columbia Fire Department responded to three accidents Saturday, all non-injury, Fire Department Capt. Rick Douglas said.

Douglas emphasized the need to use extreme caution when driving.

“Stay home if possible,” he said. “If you absolutely must get out, anticipate the traffic ahead of and around you, and be aware of what other cars could do. Give yourself more room between vehicles, because they don’t stop as quickly in this weather.”

Douglas recommends drivers leave a winter emergency pack in their cars.

“Make sure it has gloves, a blanket, dry socks, a flashlight, snack bars, water, anything you could use in an emergency,” he said.

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