December 22, 2014

Weather Service warns of icy morning drive in southern half of Missouri

1:00 AM UPDATE:

The National Weather Service says scattered light rain showers and some mixed in sleet have developed along and south of I-70 in eastern Missouri and along and south of Highway 54 in western Missouri. Some of the showers are falling in areas where temperatures have already dropped below freezing, resulting in some light freezing rain.

The Weather Service is now warning of a light glaze of ice along and south of the I-44 corridor, with trace amounts of ice possible further north. Slick spots are more likely to form on bridges and overpasses.

A winter weather advisory is now in effect for much of the southern half of the state.

Original story:

The National Weather Service is warning that a combination of cold temperatures and light precipitation could lead to dangerous driving conditions in part of southern Missouri for Monday morning.

This weather graphic from the National Weather Service's St. Louis office shows where the greatest chance of freezing precipitation overnight is, according to forecasts.

This weather graphic from the National Weather Service’s St. Louis office shows where the greatest chance of freezing precipitation overnight is, according to forecasts.

Senior Meteorologist Fred Glass told Missourinet temperatures have turned dramatically colder ahead of the front. The coldest air in that front currently extends from west-central Missouri through central Illinois.

“That would be air that is general below freezing,” said Glass. “That air mass is going to continue to push south with those colder temperatures pushing across southern Missouri overnight. At the same time that’s happening, we’re looking at precipitation trying to develop during the overnight hours.”

He says the predicted timeframe for that development will be between about 3 a.m. and 10 a.m., which includes the morning drive to work for many Missourians.

“The most likely areas to experience some frozen precipitation, mainly in the form of freezing rain, are going to be extreme southeast Missouri,” said Glass. He said a little bit of sleet is also possible toward the end of the event. “There is little to no precipitation forecast along the I-44 corridor. Everything is pretty much to the south of that.”

Glass said there could be some glazing of ice on roads and highways, but the greatest concern is for elevated surfaces like bridges and overpasses.

“The freezing rain looks like it’s going to be pretty light in intensity … elevated surfaces are surrounded by air and they cool off a lot quicker,” said Glass. “Bridges, overpasses; those are the ones that are going to be most susceptible to get some icy conditions that are going to cause travel issues during the very late night and morning hours on Monday.”

Accumulations of ice are expected to be light enough that the Weather Service is not concerned about enough accumulation to bring down tree limbs and power lines.

A winter weather advisory is in effect for several counties in southwest and south-central Missouri and a freezing rain advisory is in place in several counties from south-central Missouri to southeast Missouri.

“Those are reflective of only expecting light accumulations of wintry precipitation,” said Glass. “As far as precautionary measures, if you’re planning on being out and traveling very late tonight and tomorrow morning … you should be prepared for maybe some icy conditions and especially cautious on bridges and overpasses. That would be my words of advice to the public.”

Glass says by Wednesday temperatures should be warming as the impact of the cold front lessens.

For information for your area, tune in to your Missourinet affiliate station and visit these Weather Service office websites.

In southwest Missouri:  Springfield and on Twitter @NWSSpringfield

In southeast Missouri:  Paducah, KY and on Twitter @NWSPaducah

In northwest and western Missouri:  Kansas City (Pleasant Hill) and on Twitter @NWSKansasCity

In northeast and eastern Missouri:  St. Louis and on Twitter @NWSStLouis

Scotland and Clark counties:  Davenport, IA and on Twitter @NWSQuadCities

NWS: 2-3 inches for much of Missouri in first snow of season

The National Weather Service is predicting Missouri’s first widespread, measurable snowfall of the winter to happen this weekend.

This graphic from the National Weather Service's Kansas City office shows the predicted snowfall for the weekend.

This graphic from the National Weather Service’s Kansas City office shows the predicted snowfall for the weekend.

“I’d say we’re near 100-percent sure we’re going to see our first real accumulating snowfall over at least the north half of the state,” Warning Coordination Meteorologist Andy Bailey told Missourinet. “Far southern Missouri will probably escape this system with less than an inch, but up along the Iowa border and along the Kansas border we’re looking probably around three inches or so, give or take an inch.

The dividing line between areas predicted to see two to three inches of snow and one to two inches is from roughly Nevada, northeast to Quincy.

“The snow will probably begin late Saturday morning in western Missouri and rapidly work its way eastward into the early afternoon hours,” said Bailey. “The bulk of the snow will probably come in the first one to two hours of the snowfall and then it will taper off to just lighter snow into the evening hours, and it will end from west to east during the evening hours, overnight.”

He said fortunately, ice is not expected to form, but there could still be slick surfaces.

“I’m sure we’ll see a little bit of melting of the snow on roadways and refreezing, especially at night as the temperatures get down,” Bailey said. “We’ll be seeing teens for overnight lows Saturday night and Sunday night both, so even if the roads aren’t too bad, maybe just wet during the day Saturday and into Sunday, we could see some slick spots redevelop during the nighttime hours.”

Behind this system, cold temperatures will linger for a while.

“At least well into next week will probably be highs in the upper 20s and lower 30s and lows in the teens and 20s most days,” Bailey said. “In fact Tuesday morning in northern Missouri, we may see a couple of spots below zero.”

Winter Weather Advisory is in effect over most of the state north of Interstate 44.

“A Winter Weather Advisory is generally issued for conditions that will become a nuisance and could become dangerous if people don’t take proper precautions. Usually with snowfall we’re looking somewhere in the two to five-inch range. For the first snowfall of the season like we have right now, we tend to go a little bit lower with the snowfall amount,” Bailey said.

For updated information tune in to these Missourinet affiliates, and for National Weather Service information for your area, visit these NWS pages.

In northwest and western Missouri:  Kansas City (Pleasant Hill)

In northeast and eastern Missouri:  St. Louis

In southwest Missouri:  Springfield

In southeast Missouri:  Paducah, KY

Scotland and Clark counties:  Davenport, IA

For Missouri highway conditions find a link to the Transportation Department’s Traveler Information Map on our homepage (also available as a smart phone app).

Low-income Missourians can get help staying warm stay warm this winter

The Missouri Department of Social Services has launched its program to help low-income households cope with heating bills through March.  The application period for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is now open.

Connie Taylor, Vice President of LIHEAP and Weatherization Administration (Photo Courtesy of Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc.)

Connie Taylor, Vice President of LIHEAP and Weatherization Administration at Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc.

Vice President of LIHEAP and Weatherization Administration, Connie Taylor, says Missourians living at 135 percent of the federal poverty level or below qualify for LIHEAP. “Typically, if someone is receiving social security benefits or SSI benefits, they’re on a fixed income.  More than likely they’re going to be able to qualify for the program.  Also, if someone is receiving food stamps, they’ve already gone through some income eligibility requirements.”

“We work through the state system to determine eligibility based upon the income information that applies to that household,” Taylor explains. “$1,313 dollars is the maximum monthly income a household of one can make in order to apply and be eligible for LIHEAP.”

Payments can range from $45 to $450, based on household size, income, and type of fuel used for home heating. The payments are generally made directly to the utility company.  More than 146,000 Missouri households received LIHEAP assistance last fiscal year.

Missourians interested in the program can download the application online, but they must apply through their local LIHEAP contract agency. There are currently 19 agencies across the state of Missouri.

Disaster declaration sought for 20 MO counties hit by Sept storms

Governor Nixon has asked the federal government to declare 20 counties in northern Missouri a disaster area, due to severe storms September 9 and 10. The declaration would allow local governments to seek assistance for the costs of response and recovery.

File photo of flooding near Waynesville.

File photo of flooding near Waynesville.

Nixon says strong winds damaged schools and other public buildings and some areas experienced days of flooding. He says assessments revealed damage to roads, bridges, and low water crossings. During the storms’ peak impact, 70 roads were closed including parts of I-29 and U.S. 36.

In a statement Nixon writes, “The response and recovery costs to the affected communities – some of which had already been hit by damaging severe storms in May and June – will be extensive, and federal assistance with these costs will help the entire region rebuild and move forward.”

Nixon is asking for the disaster declaration in Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Daviess, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Mercer, Nodaway, Putnam, Ralls, Shelby, Sullivan and Worth counties.

We’ll be drying out in Missouri (AUDIO)

Finally we’re seeing some sunshine after one of the wettest starts to October on record.

Missouri is a pretty soggy place, though, halfway through October–and some places have seen some tornados and high straight-line winds.

Patrick Guinan

State climatologist Pat Guinan says history shows late September and early October can have elevated chances of severe weather. He says the statewide rainfall average is about six inches, almost double the usual statewide average for the entire month.

This is the wettest start to an October since 2009, which is the second-wettest on record. The all-time wettest October was in 1941.

But this October is not expected to reach the wetness levels of those years.

AUDIO: Guinan says the outlook is for warmer and drier weather into November. (Interview 7:22)