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Columbia prepares for first snow of the year

Ryan Famuliner
KBIA file photo

The first snow of the year is expected overnight Monday.

Columbia Public Works is already preparing to handle road conditions. Crews are expected to begin pre-treatment work this evening, department spokesperson John Ogan said.

Crews are also ready to respond overnight if conditions worsen.

Ogan doesn’t expect the storm to be severe, as temperatures are expected to remain above freezing. He advised drivers to stay cautious of slushy streets during Tuesday morning’s commute.

“This [storm] may be of greater concern just because it’s the first snowstorm of the winter season,” Ogan said. “People aren’t going to be accustomed to making prudent winter weather driving decisions.”

Ogan urged motorists to remain alert when they’re on the road.

“If there’s any message we want to get across, it’s slow down,” Ogan said. “Give increased following distance, which means don’t tailgate, and give yourself extra time.”

Ogan shared other safe driving tips such as buckling up and avoiding using the phone while driving.

Families who send kids to Columbia Public Schools should also be aware of school closures or delays.

The district decides to either cancel school or start two hours later once roads are tested, according to a CPS mass email sent to families. The district will try to notify radio and television stations by 6 a.m.

“The district makes an effort to call weather as early as possible because we understand the difficulty in making arrangements for children when school is not in session,” CPS spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said in an email. “Safety is the number one priority in every decision we make.”

Otherwise, Baumstark said families should expect to find information via the district’s parent messaging system, on the CPS website or on CPS-TV.

“We consider a multitude of factors when making a decision, including precipitation, temp, wind chill, road conditions,” Baumstark’s email said. “There is no finite chart or formula because weather and conditions caused by weather in various parts of our community are not finite.”