Winter Weather
6:02 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

First snowfall causes traffic trouble for mid-Missouri

The first snowfall of the season has already caused some headaches for mid-Missouri drivers.

by Allan Vestal (Columbia, Mo.)

Joe Piper, a manager at Boone County’s Joint Communications Center says emergency dispatchers received more than 170 reports of snow-related traffic issues Tuesday morning. Piper says drivers are still adjusting to winter weather conditions.

“We normally see an increased number of accidents when there is snow or ice.  Many times the first one of the year you can have a little higher number just because people aren’t expecting it or geared up for it, or thinking about it,” Piper said.

The National Weather Service estimates Fulton and Columbia have each seen at least an inch of snow from the storm.

Snow began to fall during the overnight hours, but Missouri Department of Transportation engineer Jason Shafer says much of that fell during the heaviest morning commute period.

Shafer says road-clearing crews began work early Monday morning, taking care to address the specific challenges of this weather system.

“Every storm is going to be a little bit different as far as what your treatment is, but in situations like today where there is a little bit of ice involved, yes, we’re using salt; yes, we’re using cinders; and we’re even using beet juice also,” Shafer said.

Shafer says MoDOT and local authorities will keep working to make sure roads stay clear.

When in doubt, he says drivers should slow down and follow farther behind other cars.