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Central Missouri hit by third winter storm


A third winter storm hit the Columbia area with more than seven inches of snow.  Check this space for updates on closing, weather and road safety.  Follow us  on twitter  and the hashtag #CoMosnow to stay in the loop.

There are some event cancelations and school closings throughout central Missouri today, with some schools closed in Fulton, Mexico, Centralia and Fayette, among others. Check out the complete list.

Updated 8:20am, March 25, 2013

The City of Columbia Public Works department has created a map to help citizens track snow plow routes and progress on city roads. The department says the map is updated every four hours.

Updated 7:14am, and at 8:47am, March 25, 2013

Communities across Missouri are digging out from the spring storm that dropped more than a foot of snow in places. At least 100 flights were canceled at Lambert International Airport yesterday.

And the storm left a blanket of snow and slush, causing cancelations of Palm Sunday plans, as well as canceled flights and treacherous roadways … as the storm churned eastward.

The National Weather Service says the storm was expected to dump 6 to 10 inches of snow over central Indiana before moving into Ohio.

Officials blamed two deaths in separate crashes in Kansas and Missouri on slick roads.

The St. Louis area saw some of the highest totals, with as much as 14 inches in some areas by late Sunday.

In Columbia, public works crews worked throughout the evening clearing residential roads ahead of this morning’s commute.

The Boone County Fire Protection District’s Gale Blomenkamp says highways and major roads in and around Columbia are largely clear, though there are some slick spots. Crews are now working on county roads where they are dealing with some blowing snow. Overall, Blomenkamp says falling on a Sunday and over Spring break made yesterday’s storm more manageable. "Things have gone pretty well," says Bomenkamp. "Crews were able to get the roads cleared, the primary roads and even the secondary roads in the city and the county. And once the snow plows had gotten through those streets, they're pretty clear. They're wet, some slick spots obviously this morning. And the issues we're having out in the county are blowing snow, but road crews are working hard to keep those roads open."

Columbia schools are on Spring break, but other central Missouri schools have closingstoday because of road conditions.

Previous post, updated March 24, 2013:

According to Columbia Public Works' facebook page, the main runway at Columbia Regional Airport is closed and American Airlines has canceled all their flights for today.  Note that on COU's own flight status page, a few flights are still labeled as scheduled but that's likely to change.

With spring break starting this week for University of Missouri and Columbia Public School students, there's not much to say about school closures.  But there's a number of other closures:

Our Faith and Values reporter Kellie Kotraba has this list of church closures today.  She also notes that the annual Blessing of the Palms, a gathering of churches downtown, has been canceled because of the snow.

ABC 17 has this longer list of church closures across mid-MO.

Also it seems that most businesses downtown are closing for the afternoon, and probably the night.  The list includes:

For information on road safety and plowing routes, check these links:

Updated 5:19 p.m.

This was widely expected, but MU will officially not be closed tomorrow (Monday):

Updated 3:35 p.m.

Outside Columbia, Cole County Public Works Director Larry Benz says that plowing has been moving along and they're already on some of the gravel routes in unincorporated parts of the county. He says crews will be out plowing through the night. Meanwhile, in Jefferson City, Streets Superintendent Louis Alber says road crews are wrapping up and expected to be dismissed between 4:00 and 4:30. He says they'll begin plowing again at around 5:00 Monday morning.

In Audrain County, Emergency Management Director Steven Shaw says numerous "slide-offs" are taking place on Route 54 and Highway 22. No serious motor vehicle accidents have been reported at this time. He’s says he’s received reports of multiple lines down, but hasn’t heard of any power outages yet.    

In Kirksville , Macon, Moberly and Columbia officials say they are making progress on road clearing. Columbia Public Works officials reported that they have plowed first- and second-priority roads, and have begun on residential roads, but issued a reminder that clearing all roads can take time.

"Thanks for staying off the roads today and allowing plow crews to do their jobs," read a statement from the Department issued this afternoon. Officials have repeatedly urged folks to stay home, as roads remain slick in places.

Update: 8:52am

As thundersnow descended on mid-Missouri this morning, Columbia road crews took to the streets clearing first- and second-priority roads. And with up to 10 inches in the forecast, officials urged people to stay off the roads, to keep cars off streets where possible, and to shovel to the right of their driveways.

The Boone County Office of Emergency Management says because the snow is wet and heavy, officials are concerned about possible power outages and downed power lines. The OEM reported that Columbia Water & Light crews are prepared for that possibility.

“MoDOT crews are ready to deal with this storm, but blowing snow and strong winds may make it more difficult,” said MoDOT State Maintenance Engineer Elizabeth Wright, in a press release yesterday. “If there are fewer vehicles on the roadways, we have a much better chance of making progress,” stated the release.

The areas under the storm warning include the Central, Northeast, Northwest and parts of the Southern portion of the state, including the cities of Columbia, Jefferson City, Kirksville and Osage Beach.

The warning states that precipitation will begins as rain tonight, and change to snow gradually throughout the evening, with the “changeover line” moving steadily south throughout the night. The I-70 corridor is expected to be snow covered by early morning Sunday.

The system is expected to carry snow into the Northeast early next week.

In the South, forecasters say the system could spark tornadoes in Louisiana and Mississippi on Saturday.

Janet Saidi is a producer and professor at KBIA and the Missouri School of Journalism.
The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
Rehman Tungekar is a former producer for KBIA, who left at the beginning of 2014.
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