The Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) is urging motorists to avoid travel altogether or to use “extreme caution” through Saturday night, after Friday’s ice storm which blasted mid-Missouri and other areas.
MODOT notes the forecast through Saturday night calls for rising temperatures and then falling temperatures with snow, ice and rain predicted across the state.
The University of Missouri-Columbia says commencement ceremonies at Mizzou will proceed as scheduled. However, officials are urging students, parents, grandparents and the public to be cautious around campus. Mizzou officials also urge the public to use “appropriate winter footwear” while on campus.
Because of Friday’s ice storm in Columbia, Mizzou also says residential halls will be open through Saturday morning at 11 to allow students to stay overnight and avoid driving.
Roads in mid-Missouri began getting treacherous at about 11 am Friday. Columbia Police officer Latisha Stroer tells Missourinet CPD officers worked 49 crashes Friday, from about 9:55 am through 2 pm. Stroer notes that figure does not include crashes worked by the Boone County Sheriff’s Department nor the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Boone County Sheriff’s Detective Tom O’Sullivan tells Missourinet that deputies had worked “at least” 100 crashes, as of Friday afternoon at about 3:30. O’Sullivan is urging motorists to stay off the roads unless necessary.
“With rapidly plummeting temperatures on Saturday across Missouri, we expect flash freezing situations on Missouri highways starting mid-morning Saturday and into the evening,” MODOT state maintenance engineer Becky Allmeroth says. “Pavements will change from wet to ice in an instant, and our road treatment chemicals are not as effective in the extreme cold. We advise everyone to consider avoiding travel.”
MODOT urges anyone who does travel to take precautions and to have a full tank of gasoline, blankets and gloves.