Winter storm packs less punch in Southeast Mo. than expected

Thursday, December 27, 2012
Snow people greet passersby on Broadway Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

The winter storm that slammed into the area Tuesday night and Wednesday morning deposited an estimated 4 inches of snow at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow totals varied, with some in the Cape Girardeau area estimating they received about 6 inches. Other reports said 12 inches fell in Dudley, Mo., in Stoddard County. Some parts of Illinois received a foot or more.

While the local snowfall didn't reach the worst-case scenarios of 10 to 15 inches that were forecast, the storm did not pass without consequences. Cape Girardeau city and county offices were closed Wednesday, as were courthouses in Scott and Bollinger counties, along with the city hall in Marble Hill, Mo. Snow and winds of up to 40 mph left nearly 400 Cape Girardeau County residents without electricity for part of Wednesday, including the Fountainbleau Lodge nursing home.

"We're happy to have the power back on," said Judy Wilcutt, director of admissions at Fountainbleau Lodge. "It's getting warmer inside."

According to Wilcutt, the nursing home benefited from assistance by the Cape Girardeau Fire Department while their power was out.

"The fire department came by several times during the storm to check on us," she said. "They spoke with the staff here at Fountainbleau to make sure everything was OK with the residents, and we made it through the outage fine."

Road crews from the Cape Girardeau Public Works Department worked to keep city streets clear of snow and ice.

"We dealt with sleet and light snow Tuesday night," said Bob Kutak, traffic-operations manager for the department. "Then from 1 to 5 a.m. Wednesday morning we were hit with heavy snow."

The road crews, which consisted of 16 trucks covering eight different routes, worked to keep the "Priority One" streets in Cape Girardeau clear.

"Our goal was to plow the main traffic arteries in town, like Lexington, Broadway, William and Perryville Road," Kutak said. "Then about 7:30 in the morning we were able to turn our attention to 'Priority Two' side streets."

The Missouri Department of Transportation also worked continuously to keep area roads clear, concentrating on major routes such as interstates 55 and 57 and U.S. 60.

"We had one lane on the major routes in good shape Wednesday morning," said Matt Seiler, assistant district engineer for MoDOT's Southeast District.

By midafternoon Wednesday the temperature was still hovering just above freezing at Cape Girardeau.

No storm-related vehicle injuries or fatalities were reported by Troop E of the Missouri State Highway Patrol by midday.

"We issued advisories for motorists to avoid driving Tuesday night and Wednesday morning," said Trooper Clark Parrot, spokesman for the highway patrol. "We wanted MoDOT to be able to do their job during the storm without vehicles getting in their way. It's good that there were no injuries or fatalities, so people must have listened."

Cape Girardeau police reported no accidents in the early morning hours, and light traffic, though cars were observed sliding on slick roads.

The day after Christmas has long been recognized as a day for customers to take advantage of sales, and some retailers were reporting lower-than-normal customer traffic Wednesday.

"It's fairly quiet in the store," said David Bortner, manager of Kohl's. "We opened at 5 a.m., and we haven't seen a steady stream of customers yet. Usually it's pretty busy, but we'll have to wait and see."

Jackie Leal, human-resources manager at Target, confirmed that business was slower than anticipated Wednesday.

"We've definitely seen fewer customers when compared to last year," Leal said. "But we hope it's not anything we can't overcome as we go further into the week."

Today's high temperature is expected to stay below freezing at about 30 degrees, but with sunshine.

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent addresses:

202 Siemers Drive, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

315 Shirley Drive, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

2007 Southern Expressway, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

2001 N. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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