After a balmy beginning to the new year, winter weather is coming to Columbia this weekend.
Saturday temperatures will not rise above freezing, according to the National Weather Service. A wintry weather mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain is expected and projected to accumulate 1 to 3 inches of precipitation. Wind gusts may reach as high as 31 mph.
A 22-person Columbia Public Works plow crew is planned to report at 1 a.m. on Saturday to pre-treat roads ahead of icy forecasts, with a new crew reporting at 7 a.m, according to a city news release Friday afternoon. The city advises avoiding roadways during those early morning hours.
“Once that temperature falls below freezing, that’s when we’ll have to start worrying about slick roadways,” KOMU meteorologist Matt Beckwith said. A temperature difference of just one or two degrees “can make a huge difference” in both the type of precipitation and road safety, he said
Mike Schupp, area engineer for the central district of the Missouri Department of Transportation, reminded people not to travel if they don’t have to but if they must, to keep supplies and a full tank of gas in their car and to check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map before heading out on the road.
“Obviously, be prepared,” he said.
Power outages are possible due to possible ice and strong winds. Utility crews will be on standby and prepared to restore power, according to the city's news release.
Go COMO is currently scheduled to maintain its regular schedule and services on Saturday, and individual airlines will determine the statuses of their flights in and out of Columbia Regional Airport.
As quickly as it comes, the winter mix will be gone. A trend toward higher temperatures is expected to begin Sunday, reaching into the 40s, which will stay through Wednesday.
“Temperatures above freezing are our friend,” Sapp said.