A record rainfall event across much of Missouri will be followed by a winter storm in northwest Missouri in a continuation of dangerous weather conditions in the state.
The National Weather Service reported by 9 Sunday morning that in a 50- to 75-mile swath from St. Louis region, through south-central and southwest Missouri, some widespread areas had already received four to six inches of rain, with some locally greater amounts recorded. Meteorologists tell Missourinet that because the rain is falling in winter when less vegetation is soaking it up, runoff is enhanced and creating more flooding than if the event had occurred in summer.
The Department of Transportation is reporting 351 flood-related road closures throughout the state.
Among those, Eastbound I-70 is closed in St. Peters where the Dardenne Creek is out of its banks, and Highway 63 is closed at Westphalia.
Numerous water rescues have taken place in Missouri. Missourinet affiliate KTTS reports more than 70 were reported on Saturday in Greene County and Springfield alone. Cold wind chills have hampered rescue efforts.
Chet Hunter with Green County Emergency Management encouraged drivers to stay out of water covering roadways.
“When people make those decisions to drive into open water they’re encumbering a rescue scenario and causing those folks to put their life in danger to rescue them,” Hunter said.
The Weather Service says the rain isn’t over, and while some of what is on the way will fall across an already inundated portion of the state, some could cause snow and ice accumulation in northwest Missouri.
The Weather Service generally expects another two-to-four inches of rain to fall in much of central and southern Missouri through Monday. This is expected to renew flooding that might have already started to recede since Saturday, and could cause rivers to rise
further through Monday. Warnings of what the Service terms “major” and “historic” flooding have been issued for several rivers, including the Mississippi at St. Louis and Cape Girardeau; the Meramec in the St. Louis region; the Gasconade in south-central Missouri, the Spring at Carthage; and the James at Galena.
In northwest Missouri, temperatures are predicted to be cold enough that by late Sunday some precipitation could fall as freezing rain before changing to sleet and snow. The Weather Service says there is still a lot of uncertainty about where and how much ice and snow could accumulate, but notable accumulation is not expected to begin until after sunset Sunday night.
A winter storm warning is in effect from 6 Sunday night through 9 Monday night for 21 counties in western, northwestern, and northern Missouri.
Early predictions are that some parts of northern and western Missouri could see around a quarter-inch of ice accumulation between Sunday night and Monday evening.
Far northwest Missouri could see more than four inches of snow, ranging through to less than an inch predicted along and northwest of a line from Nevada to near Columbia and north of Hannibal.
The Weather Service says major impacts, such widespread downed power lines and tree limbs due to ice accumulation, are not anticipated, but the snow and ice could make travel condition dangerous particularly for those going to work Monday morning.
For information for your area, tune in to your Missourinet affiliate station and visit these Weather Service office websites.