The winter storm from Friday afternoon through Sunday left some of the largest snowfall amounts on record in central and eastern Missouri. Columbia received its third highest dumping of snow ever, 16.9 inches. The city was hit with 19.7 inches on January 20, 1995, and 18 inches on February 3, 2011.
Meteorologist Ben Herzog with the National Weather Service in St. Louis said members of the public observed some higher snowfall totals over the weekend than the official recording at the Columbia Airport. “The highest we had was 20.3 inches, and that was at the University of Missouri (in Columbia),” said Herzog. “There was another 20 inches in Montgomery City, 19 inches in Mexico, 17 in Fulton. Jefferson City had 15 inches.”
The University of Missouri flagship campus in Columbia, which was shut down Friday, continues to be closed Monday because of the storm. UM system offices are also closed, but all MU hospitals are open as is the Veterinary Health Center for emergencies. MU vice chancellor Gary Ward calls the weather event one of the worst storms the school has experienced.
KSSZ radio reports the highway patrol worked hundreds of crashes in mid-Missouri, but there were no reported deaths. More than nine thousand customers lost power in the city of Columbia alone at point. Many schools in mid-Missouri canceled classes Monday.
— NWS St. Louis (@NWSStLouis) January 14, 2019
St. Louis received national media attention for being the westernmost large city in the storm that formed over Missouri and moved eastward leaving double-digit snowfall totals in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and numerous Atlantic coast states. Total accumulation of snow in St. Louis from the weekend storm was 11.4 inches, well below the city’s high of 15.6 inches recorded on February 21, 1912.
The ongoing #winter storm in the Mid-Atlantic brought heavy #snow from Colorado to Delaware, with over 20 inches of snow recorded in Missouri. Find the latest storm summary from WPC here: https://t.co/2iFgBJVxfa pic.twitter.com/XEB6BvP8Gz
— NWS WPC (@NWSWPC) January 14, 2019
Road incidents Friday night on I-44 in southern St. Louis County led to gridlock as the eastbound backup was 6-8 hours. Herzog said some travelers spent the night on the highway. Lighter weekend traffic allowed Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) crews to catch up in plowing away most snow. The agency was also able to treat roadways.
Herzog said the state was fortunate that freezing drizzle and icing of roads predicted for Sunday never materialized. “The drizzle that formed that we were worried might freeze managed to not freeze as it hit the ground,” Herzog said. “It mainly froze on elevated surfaces or plants or things like that.”
He said recent warm weather approaching 70 degrees in eastern and central Missouri helped to keep the ground and roads from freezing. “That really helps keep that ground temperature pretty warm, and so going into events like this, that’s going to help melt a lot of the snow,” said Herzog. “It’s going to help mitigate some of the impacts on roads, things like that.”
A line from Clinton in the west extending eastward through Lake Of The Ozarks over to Farmington south of St. Louis was the southern cutoff point for heavy snow. Cities moving south from there received comparatively smaller snow totals. A foot of snow was recorded as far west as Sedalia.
Meteorologist Scott Blair with the National Weather Service in Kansas City said the snowfall total at Kansas City International Airport was only 4.6 inches although there were heavier pockets in the metro area. “There was a pretty good spread across the city,” said Blair. “Most of the city saw between 5-11 inches.” Kansas City’s heaviest snow total for a two-day event was 25 inches recorded in 1912.
KMBC-TV reports more than 50,000 customers remained without power in the Kansas City area last night because of branches and trees that fell during the weekend storm. Many Kansas City area schools canceled classes Monday.
Kirksville in northern Missouri received eight inches of snow, well short of its record of 13 inches in 1967.
Another winter storm is expected to drop snow in Missouri Friday night and Saturday.
The winter storm warning for much of central and eastern Missouri has expired. A light wintry mix of snow and freezing drizzle is likely today. Additional snow accumulations of around a half inch or less are expected along with a light glaze of ice, mainly on elevated surfaces such as overpasses.
The heaviest snowfall occurred in mid-Missouri where close to 16 inches fell Friday through early Sunday. Locally heavier snowfall reached 20 inches in some areas. Highway and arterial road conditions have improved. Early Sunday, I-70 was in fair condition while I-44 was in good condition. Power was being restored to several thousand customers in Columbia Sunday morning who lost electricity.
The winter storm in Missouri is leaving substantial snowfall across the state, and ice could accumulate by Sunday morning. Meteorologist Ben Herzog with the National Weather Service in St. Louis says the system will have an extensive reach. “We’re looking at a pretty wide swath of snow, the heaviest of which is going to run, more or less along I-70, where we could see probably 8-12 inches of snow right now,” said Herzog.
The winter storm warning has been extended because snow and freezing drizzle is expected to last about 6 hours longer than previously forecast. Up to a tenth of an inch of ice could build up across the area by midday Sunday
The National Weather Service says there’ll be additional snowfall in the storm warning area through Sunday morning. Up to six inches could fall in areas in and around Hannibal and Bowling Green in Northeast Missouri. Up to five inches are expected in Columbia and Jefferson City in the central portion of the state. An additional four inches could fall in St. Louis and Union in eastern Missouri, as well as one inch in Farmington and Centerville to the south.
Accumulations are expected to increase from west to east. A total of up to 12 inches could fall inside the large warning area. The storm was predicted to leave 1-2 inches of snow in southern Missouri and roughly six inches in the northwestern part of the states. 3-5 inches was expected in the Kansas City area.
Meteorologist Scott Blair with the National Weather Service in Kansas City says the level of snow will depend on where you are in the state. “Any travelers from Springfield to St. Louis would see a rapid increase in the expected snowfall amounts,” said Blair.
According to Blair, the snow system is starting in Missouri because a rain system from the southwest is meeting with cold air over the state. “That’s what’s going to give these high snowfall totals across a large portion of Missouri,” Blair said.
The cutoff for snowfall to the south is along the Missouri-Arkansas border.
The National Weather Service calls the current storm “memorable, but not record-breaking”. St. Louis experienced 10.8 inches of snow on January5th, 2014. The current storm would qualify as the biggest two-day snow event since 2014. The heaviest January single day snowfall in St. Louis was 11.2 inches on January 31, 1958. The biggest two-day snow event in St. Louis brought 15.6 inches in February of 1912.
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is urging drivers to be on the lookout for slippery roads during the current storm and afterward. The agency is also warning of possible traffic delays in the Kansas City area with the Chiefs divisional playoff game scheduled to start at 3:35 p.m. Saturday. MoDOT is also advising that many students will be returning to college campuses after the winter break, which means more vehicles on the road.
The University of Missouri flagship campus in Columbia closed because of the winter storm. The campus and UM system offices were shut down. The Student Health Center and all MU Health Care hospitals remain open.