The Missouri Department of Transportation says they’re already at work to try to keep up with the ice and snow expected in Missouri. But they say a storm of this magnitude is something they haven’t had to deal with in a long time.
“I don’t remember any recent storm that was this widespread. He have had isolated storms that have carried this much snow with some wind,” said Don Hillis, MODOT’s Director of System Management.
As rain is expected to turn into freezing rain today, he says they’re putting salt down on the main roads.
“Hopefully the rain will not wash the salt off and we have a base there for tomorrow when the heavy stuff comes,” Hills said. “We’ve got plenty of salt; our equipment is up and operational. We’ve got our folks ready to go, looking at possibly adjusting resources depending on the track of the weather.”
Hillis says they’re tracking the progress of the storm closely.
“The other concern is the snowfall rates. We’re expecting some pretty intense snowfall rates of an inch or more per hour. That’s gonna make it tough for our drivers to see,” Hillis said. “They’ll be out there as long as they can see. It’s going to be a very challenging storm. We’re planning for it, we’re getting ready for it today, actually started getting ready for it yesterday, and we’ll see what happens with the weather.”
Hillis says drivers may also have to deal with very serious drifting later in the week. Again, of a magnitude most Missourians haven’t seen in decades.
“It’s gonna take some time to remove it. I think what’s even more troubling is the wind that will follow it. We’ll see drifting that will be much, much deeper than 20 inches. In some places we’re expecting some severe drifting. It’ll take a while to get around and the cold temperatures after the fact and the wind are going to make it tough to get the roads clear and keep them clear,” Hillis said.
Hillis says drivers need to make smart decisions, and that might be deciding not to drive at all.
“I think the best thing would be if they can avoid travel, that would help us a lot. It’s hard for us to plow snow when there’s a lot of traffic. But stay back from our plows, they’re out there trying to do the job. Don’t pass them because the conditions are going to be pretty treacherous,” Hillis said.
Hillis says if you have to travel, you should check their Traveler Information Map, which is updated continuously, or call 1-888-275-6636.