A display of severe winter weather is expected to sweep through mid-Missouri this weekend.
After a couple weeks of 40-, 50- and even 60-degree weather, Boone County will be under a winter storm watch from noon Friday until midnight Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
Columbia could get up to six inches of snow and sleet. Two to four inches is expected Friday afternoon, with an additional one to two Saturday, according to the weather service.
Mike Schupp, area engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said the department will handle the snow as it regularly would.
"We will be around the clock 24 hours a day," Schupp said. He said trucks will be all set to go and crews will be out before the storm starts.
Friday's high is expected to be 35 degrees.
According to weather service records, the last time the city experienced more than one inch of snow was almost two months ago, on Nov. 15, 2018.
Columbia last saw a snowfall of more than six inches in February 2015. For the past two winters, Columbia's snow total has not exceeded four inches each year.
In 2011, 45.6 inches of snow fell in Columbia. February 2011 alone saw 23.3 inches, causing big disruptions throughout the city and MU.
Chris Sampson, the residency program director at University Hospital's Department of Emergency Medicine, advised additional precautions.
"Driving conditions can be dangerous," Sampson said. He reminded people to wear seat belts as well as keep emergency supplies including a blanket, water and small snacks.
The Missouri Department of Transportation also gave some suggestions to avoid crashes while driving in inclement weather, including adjusting speeds to fit the conditions, eliminating distractions and keeping mirrors and lights clear.
Off the roads, ice on walkways provides potential for injury. Slipping and falling may lead to head injuries or broken bones, he said.
Take additional precautions with ice, he said: Walk carefully, salt walkways and wear shoes with tread to help avoid injury.
Shoveling snow, which places additional physical stress on bodies, can also be a danger, Sampson cautioned. Cardiovascular and back injuries are common while shoveling large loads of snow.
"Hospitals actually see a rise in heart attacks around that time because people stress their heart so much it leads to a heart attack," Sampson said.
The best way to prevent overexertion from snow shoveling is to pace the work load, Sampson said. Doing smaller loads and shorter tasks may help avoid physical stress.
"If for any reason you feel like you're having chest pain, shortness of breath, you feel dizzy or you feel like you're going to pass out, you should probably immediately go inside and call 911 for medical help," Sampson said.
Frost bite and hypothermia can be threats to humans and pet alike. Pet owners are encouraged to keep their animals indoors during extended periods of cold and keep them hydrated. Sampson said that if the pets do need to stay mainly outdoors, they should be brought in for warm-up breaks.
Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.