Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center in response to a Winter Storm Watch issued by the National Weather Service.
The advisory’s in effect from midnight Friday morning until 6 p.m. Saturday evening, when much of the state could see ice accumulations of a quarter inch to a half-inch.
Weather Service Meteorologist Jim Sieveking says the southern portion of the state – including Joplin, Springfield and Farmington – will be hit early Friday morning.
“And then it’ll slowly start advancing north on Friday during the day” said Sieveking. “It’ll probably reach the I-70 corridor from Kansas City to St. Louis probably somewhere around noon and early afternoon.”
After that point, Sieveking says the area of concern will experience waves of freezing rain until temperatures warm up. He says the ice accumulation will be along a line from Nevada to Lake of the Ozarks to the western suburbs of St. Louis.
According to the Weather Service, conditions should provide a classic set-up for an ice storm. “If you just go a couple of hundred feet up in the atmosphere, it’s actually going to be above freezing” said Sieveking. “Any of the snow that’s falling through the atmosphere is going to melt into rain. And then it’s just going to be cold enough right at the surface for it to refreeze.”
The State Emergency Management Agency and Highway Patrol are now implementing their response plans.
DPS Director Drew Juden said. “We have been tracking the storm system throughout the week and we are in close coordination with the Governor, state and federal agencies, and response partners to ensure we are prepared to respond to this potentially significant winter storm.”
In a statement, Governor Greitens said “We will be closely monitoring the situation as it develops. Our team is working closely with the Department of Public Safety and other state agencies to make safety through this storm our top priority.”
The Weather Services Sieveking notes although there’ll likely be significant accumulations of ice, the storm is not expected to down power lines or tree branches.
“Right now it doesn’t appear that it’s going to be a crippling ice storm by any means. It’s just going to be an ice storm that’s’ going to cause some headaches and some hazardous travel.” Sieveking says bridges, overpasses, decks and sidewalks could be especially treacherous for people in vehicles or on foot.