Winter-weather system expected Thursday night, throughout weekend

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Arctic air and winter-weather systems will return to the area this weekend. The brief interlude of above-freezing temperatures the region has experienced in the last few days likely will relapse into single-digit temperatures, frozen precipitation and icy roads.

A low-pressure system is expected to move into the Tennessee River Valley from the Northeast on Thursday, according to Ryan Presley, regional forecaster for the National Weather Service in Paducah, Kentucky.

The system is expected to bring rain across the region before mixing with cold artic air from the Northwest, changing the precipitation to a mix of freezing rain and sleet throughout the night.

By Friday, Presley said, Southeast Missouri can expect a “substantial” accumulation of snow.

“Keep a close watch on the forecast and expect potential travel issues Friday,” he said. It’s too early to predict precise expected accumulation, he said Tuesday.

Presley said to expect rapid drops in temperature when the cold front comes, as much as 15 to 20 degrees within an hour.

Saturday likely will bring temperatures in the 20s before dropping into the teens and single digits again by Sunday. Presley said the expected wind-chill could get as low as zero degrees.

Stan Polivick, assistant director at Cape Girardeau Public Works, said although salt and snow-plow trucks will be readily on hand, drivers should practice caution if they venture out.

“Be smart, be safe, watch your speeds, watch other drivers,” Polivick said. “Don’t be casual about this; it carries a demand for respect to be safe.”

Polivick said timing is the most important factor in maintaining safe roadways this weekend. He said Thursday’s rain and freezing rain advisories would eliminate the department’s ability to use salt brine or liquid salt, which keeps precipitation from freezing to the pavement.

Polivick said primary, secondary and tertiary streets have been identified for priority snow removal and plow-drivers are well experienced, but drivers should give them space to do their job.

Kent Peetz, director of public works for the city of Jackson said snow routes will go into effect only if the forecast calls for 2 inches or more of snow. For now, Peetz said, his department is more concerned with ice and keeping it off the roads. If the snow removal proclamation does go into effect, though, residents will have 12 hours to move parked cars from designated snow-route locations, or they will be subject to ticket or towing.

To learn more about snow routes and procedures, visit cityofcapegirardeau.org and jacksonmo.org.

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