Road crews prepared for overnight snowfall

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Road crews are ready for the third accumulating snow in less than two weeks, officials said as a winter storm expected to bring 4 or more inches of snow to Southeast Missouri arrived in the area Monday.

Jackson, Cape Girardeau and the District 10 office of the Missouri Department of Transportation all said stockpiles of salt and other road-clearing compounds are in good shape.

"We started out the season with about 2,500 tons of salt, and I don't think we have used 1,000 tons yet," said Tim Gramling, director of the Cape Girardeau Public Works Department.

And Keith Gentry, district maintenance supervisor for MoDOT, said he has about 20,000 tons of salt available throughout the 14-county district. About 2 inches of snow fell in the Bootheel area Monday morning, he said, but caused few problems.

"We are waiting on the second wave to hit," he said.

Road crews in Jackson, where the city uses cinders and crushed rock to provide traction on slick streets, are well supplied in advance of the storm, said Stephen Hendrix, street superintendent.

The National Weather Service office in Paducah, Ky., issued a winter storm warning effective until 9 a.m. today for the area from Bollinger, Cape Girardeau and Scott counties south through the Bootheel in Missouri and Union and Alexander counties in Illinois. Other areas are under a winter weather advisory.

The snow will be followed by strong winds today that will push windchills into the teens and single digits, said David Humphrey, lead meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Paducah, Ky.

The new storm comes as the region is locked into a cold pattern that appears likely to stick around for another week or longer, Humphrey said.

"It is called winter," he said.

Overnight snowfall amounts will likely range from about 2 1/2 inches near Perryville, Mo., to as much as 4 or 5 inches of snow along the Missouri-Arkansas border. The snow will be a fairly wet snow, so Humphrey said he is not expecting the blowing and drifting that was seen when Cape Girardeau received about 7 inches of snow Jan. 29.

A blast of cold air will drop temperatures in the low to mid-teens overnight today and Wednesday, Humphrey said, with windchills in the single digits.

All of the road chiefs interviewed said they are happy to see snow rather than the ice that hit the region in 2008 and 2009.

"Even though it sounds worse from the inches, if we have the choice I would take a seven-inch snow anytime," Gramling said. "You can do something with it."

All the departments working to clear snow said they are within anticipated overtime budgets for snow and ice removal.

rkeller@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

Cape Girardeau, Mo.

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