City prepares for possibility of winter weather this week

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Cape Girardeau Public Works Department employees were on stand-by Monday evening as the first significant winter weather of the season approached.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory early in the day for the overnight hours, predicting 1 to 2 inches of snow with the possibility of up to 3 inches in isolated areas. The advisory covered most of Missouri and Illinois.

The fast-moving system should be all but finished and out of the area by 9 a.m. today. "It will be a gradual onset, and sleet will cut down on accumulations," said Christine Wielgos, a forecaster with the weather service office in Paducah, Ky.

Cape Girardeau public works employees prepared the city's trucks for winter weather that didn't materialize last week, department director Tim Gramling said. The trucks remained ready and were checked Friday in anticipation of the possibility of snow Monday, which was a city holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The trucks will be called out when police report that the streets are starting to become hazardous, Gramling said.

"When we know something is in the forecast, we just basically wait for something to start happening," he said.

With the low overnight temperatures over the weekend, forecasters are anticipating that any precipitation will quickly make streets and bridges treacherous. "There is really not much for us to do until it actually starts," Gramling said.

Another storm is forecast to reach the area later this week with another chance of snow or sleet from Friday into Saturday. The strength of that storm is uncertain, Wielgos said.

"It is way too early to tell right now," she said.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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