Resources for staying up to date on the expected extreme winter weather
Officials are urging caution on the roads starting today and into this weekend due to frigid cold temperatures and some expected snowfall today. KOMU 8 meteorologists are expecting snow starting this morning in Mid-Missouri, and the snowfall should end around 6:00 p.m., leaving an anticipated 2-4 inches of snow.
Temperatures are expected to drop sharply this morning down to the 10s, and down below zero overnight. The strong arctic front that will bring those cold temperatures will also bring wind speeds between 35-45 miles per hour, and potentially as high as 50 miles per hour. That will create wind chill factors between -25 and -28 degrees between this evening and lasting into Saturday morning. Temperatures will increase to a high of 15 on Saturday and 25 on Sunday.
The best place to get updates on the forecasts for winter weather will be KOMU's weather page. This is the link to the main landing page for their weather, and they also have this post explaining this specific weather event.
Many businesses and city buildings are closed today due to the weather, including the University of Missouri and the Columbia Public Library. Flights this afternoon between Columbia Regional Airport and Chicago – O’Hare also have been cancelled, as the winter weather moves across most of the U.S. heading into the weekend.
The best place to get information on local closures is also KOMU, and you can find those at this link.
KOMU will also be running this live blog of updates throughout the day.
Road crews have been treating bridges, intersections, hills and curves with salt and salt brine, but once temperatures drop below 15 that won’t be effective, and plowing will be the only way to treat the roads. As always, the Missouri Department of Transportation recommends people check their traveler information map before using the highway. As of this morning, roads across northern Missouri are already showing as covered or partly covered, with roads due west of Columbia in the Kansas City area also covered or partly covered.
The best place to find updated road conditions on state highways is that traveler information page, which you can find here. You can also download an app version of the map on your smartphone.
The best place to get updated information from the City of Columbia is its winter storm information website, which you can find here.
During these types of weather events, many agencies also update the community on their work via their social media accounts. Here are some twitter accounts that may be worth following as the storm develops:
Columbia Public Works
Boone County Joint Communications
Missouri Department of Transportation
MODOT Central District
Boone County Fire
Boone County Office of Emergency Management
Columbia Water & Light
City of Columbia
Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services
Missouri State Highway Patrol
Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop F (covering much of Mid-Missouri)
Columbia’s city utility department will have additional crews on standby as downed power lines are a risk in this storm due to strong winds in the forecast.
You can view the city's outage map here. And you can view the Boone Electric Cooperative's map here.