While area residents may have missed the sleet and possible freezing drizzle predicted for Pettis County Tuesday morning, winter is not finished with the area.
According to Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Director Dave Clippert, the county may receive up to three inches Tuesday afternoon, continuing through early Wednesday morning.
“We were lucky this morning that we didn’t get the sleet and drizzle that they had predicted,” Clippert said midday Tuesday. “When I woke up this morning around 5:30 a.m. I was relieved to see that we didn’t receive that form of precipitation.”
Clippert said that despite a light constant snow for a few hours Tuesday morning, the heavier snowfall would happen later in the day.
“I think the main event will probably start around 3 p.m. and continue for most of the evening and throughout the night ending around 10 p.m.,” he said. “This is the first big one that may hit the area. It’s not predicted to be a major, huge event for us, but with all winter weather it is hard to get past three days with any prediction.
“We can’t really tell the impact of what is expected until after it’s done,” Clippert added. “But as with any winter weather, drivers need to use caution when they are on the roads.
The Missouri Department of Transportation also cautioned motorists to be prepared for winter driving.
“MoDOT recommends that if you have flexibility in your afternoon commute, avoid driving at peak travel times when snow is on the roadways,” the department said in a press release issued Tuesday. “MoDOT also advises motorists to drive carefully on snowy bridges and overpasses, which usually see freezing conditions first.
“In snowy and slick conditions, MoDOT encourages drivers to slow down, steer and brake gently, accelerate slowly at intersections, allow plenty of following distance, and stay back 100 feet behind snow plows that may be spreading salt. In addition, snow plows should not be passed, even when on a multi-lane road.”
Clippert said the City of Sedalia had implemented its Emergency Snow Routes on Tuesday morning.
According to the City’s website, parking is prohibited on the streets designated as Emergency Snow Routes.
When the snow routes are in effect, “People living on emergency snow routes are required to remove their vehicles from the street to assist street crews,” the website states.
“The Street Department will determine which streets require immediate clearing. When this occurs, the Street Department will contact the Sedalia Police Department and emergency towing will begin in the area requested.
“The City asks residents of the snow route to move their vehicles until the City announces the end of the routes being in effect or the street is substantially clear of snow and ice from curb to curb for the length of the entire block.”
A map of the Emergency Snow Routes can be found at www.ci.sedalia.mo.us.
“MoDOT will also carefully monitor road conditions and begin treating state routes as needed,” the press release states. “When state routes become snow-covered, MoDOT places the highest priority on roads with the highest traffic volumes, such as interstates, U.S. highways, and other high volume state routes. MoDOT crews will also plow loose snow and treat the hills, curves, and intersections of lower volume lettered or numbered routes as needed.”
Motorists can check on road conditions before they travel by checking the Traveler Information Map at www.modot.org or by calling MoDOT’s customer service center 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (888-275-6636). The toll-free phone line is answered 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Clippert added that with the cold weather people, should use caution.
“This is just the first one and we’ve had much, much worse ones over the years as we all know,” Clippert said. “They are calling for a 30 to 40 percent chance of more snow on Thursday, but we just don’t know the number of inches yet.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484