Snow Causes Travel Troubles across St. Louis Region and Much of Missouri (Copy)

By Benchaabane, Nassim | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), February 16, 2019 | Go to article overview

Snow Causes Travel Troubles across St. Louis Region and Much of Missouri (Copy)


Benchaabane, Nassim, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


ST. LOUIS - After a brief preview of spring weather Thursday, St. Louis and much of Missouri were reminded Friday that it's still winter.

Fortunately, the snow storm that hit the area about noon wasn't the kind of prolonged heavy snow that closed highways and left motorists stranded for hours in January.

But once it started falling, traffic started slowing, and then came the road woes. By midafternoon, drivers in the St. Louis region were sliding around on overpasses as the snow started covering road surfaces, leading to more than 100 crashes. None of the crashes was reported to be fatal Friday, though people were injured in some. Further west, some sections of Interstate 70 were closed for hours for crashes, including a massive pileup near Oak Grove, Mo., that left one person dead and several people injured.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory Friday for all but the extreme northeast corner of Missouri. Several schools closed early, including the University of Missouri's Columbia campus.

The area was under advisory until midnight, when snowfall was expected to taper off, leaving behind 1 to 3 inches between St. Charles and Jefferson counties.

The southern part of that metro area accumulated close to 4 inches by late Friday, said Patrick Walsh, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Weldon Spring. That area also saw some accumulation of sleet and freezing rain.

Snow plows were out in force across the region to treat the roads in advance of the snowfall, which started about noon as the temperature dropped to 20 degrees. More than 200 plows were still out clearing roadways as of Friday evening, said Bob Becker, assistant district engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation.

At a 4 p.m. news conference, Becker said most of the crashes were occurring when drivers switched lanes, made turns at intersections and exited or entered interstates.

"We need people to slow down and be careful today," Becker said. "The roads aren't too bad overall; if you slow down and take your time, we should be in good shape. …

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