The Transportation Department is discouraging travel in Southeast Missouri while a winter storm blows through the rest of tonight through tomorrow morning.
The National Weather Service is predicting blizzard conditions with that storm. State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright says that would mean highways could be closed.
“We’re very concerned about I-55 with this storm. The Weather Service is forecasting somewhere between 7 and 9 inches of snow and that isn’t the largest issue. What we’re also hearing is we’ll have sustained winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour gusting up to 40 and that’s when people will see blizzard-like conditions, so that’s our greatest concern at this time.”
For the Department to make the decision to close a road, Wright says a storm must be making it difficult for snow plow drivers to see other traffic.
“They’re a larger vehicle, they’re higher, they generally have better visibility, so we know that when they have a difficult time seeing, that especially small passenger cars have a very difficult time seeing. That’s when it’s just best for none of us to be traveling on a roadway and we try to pull our folks off so that we’re safe and everyone else is safe, and then as the storm system dies down a bit and we have better visibility, then we get out.”
The Department is advising motorists to avoid traveling in southeast Missouri and has issued a No Travel advisory until condition simprove tomorrow.
Those who do atttempt to travel are advised to bring a mobile phone and winter survival supplies.
The Department offers a Traveler Information Map and the Highway Patrol offers an emergency phone number for people needing assistance, at (800) 525-5555 or *55 from a cellular phone.