Winter storm: Some school closings for Thursday, road crews move to residential routes [UPDATES]

Feb 3, 2014

UPDATE 5:00pm Thursday: Columbia Public Schools will be closed again on Friday due to weather and road conditions. Jefferson City Public Schools will be in session Friday, although busses will run on snow routes in Callaway County in the morning and afternoon.

UPDATE 5:00 p.m. Wednesday: University of Missouri officials announced that the Columbia campus will be open Thursday for all regularly scheduled operations.

UPDATE 4:54 p.m. Wednesday: Columbia Public Schools will not be in session Thursday due to weather conditions. For more closures, check out this page.

UPDATE 4:32 p.m. Wednesday: According to the National Weather Service, the recent winter storm dumped about 5.5 inches of snow on Columbia.  Columbia Public Works’ crews have plowed most priority routes to passable conditions and will continue treating roads with salt and cinder. The department says the parking ban on 1st and 2nd priority routes has been lifted.

Road crews have now shifted their efforts to trash collection routes in residential neighborhoods. Garbage collection will resume Thursday for those with regular Tuesday and Wednesday routes. The remaining routes for the week will be delayed by one day. 

Columbia Transit services to reopen Thursday on emergency weather schedule.

UPDATE 12:41 p.m. Wednesday: Jefferson City Public Schools will not be in session on Thursday, according to David Luther, assistant to the superintendent.

UPDATE 6:15 a.m. Wednesday: A winter storm warning is in effect until noon today for much of central Missouri. Conditions will remain hazardous but little or no additional snow accumulation is expected this morning. Parts of northwest and southwest Missouri, including Kirksville and Sedalia, are under a weather statement advising that road conditions remain hazardous. The southern part of the state, including Rolla and surrounding counties, is under a wind chill advisory.

Columbia Public Works reports that snow plows have started clearing residential areas in the city and are continuing to maintain 1st and 2nd priority routes. In an email, Columbia College announced daytime classes are canceled. See a full list of closings and cancelations

UPDATE 6:39 p.m. Tuesday: Here is a time-lapse video from one of our reporters walking in to the newsroom today from the Benton Stephens neighborhood. No snow days for the news team.

UPDATE 5:09 p.m. Tuesday: MU campus to remain closed on Wednesday. Classes have been canceled. Only critical employees should report to work.

UPDATE 4:55 p.m. Tuesday: National Weather Service reports between 4 and 6 inches of snow has already fallen in Columbia.

UPDATE 4:22 p.m. Tuesday: In Columbia, residential curbside collection of recyclables is canceled the rest of the week. Garbage collection on residential routes for Tuesday and Wednesday will be delayed until Thursday with the rest of the week being one day delayed, according to Columbia Public Works.

UPDATE 3:17 p.m. Tuesday: In a Facebook post, Columbia Transit said that it will "not be open for service tomorrow including fixed routes, para-transit & FastCAT. Student routes will be open if MU is open."

UPDATE 2:56 p.m. Tuesday: City offices and municipal courts in Columbia will be closed on Wednesday, according to an email sent by the city.

UPDATE 2:15 p.m. Tuesday: Columbia Public Transit "fully intends to run routes tomorrow," said Drew Brooks, Multi-Modal Manager for the City of Columbia. 

Brooks said transit will likely be on an emergency weather schedule, but most of the bus routes are first-priority streets that the plows clear first. He said they will reevaluate the situation at 4 a.m. tomorrow, and will post information no later than 5:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Brooks also said the airport is not having any difficulties keeping the runways clear and flights appear to be on time, but customers can check on their flights at flymidmo.com or with their individual airlines.

UPDATE 12:53 p.m. Tuesday: In an email, Columbia College announced that evening classes for Tuesday, Feb. 5, are canceled. 

UPDATE 12:37 p.m. Tuesday: In an email, Columbia Public Schools announced that classes will not be in session on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

UPDATE 12:00 p.m. Tuesday: Columbia Public Works has posted on its Facebook page that snow accumulation has reached 2 inches, putting into effect the department's no-parking ordinance on priority routes, which is intended to make sure plows can pass on heavy-traffic roads. Cars still parked on those routes "will be subject to citation and towed at the owners expense if necessary," the post says. A map of priority routes is available on the department's website.

"We understand and empathize with customers that usually park on the road due to steep driveways or inadequate parking spaces, but for the public good, plowing must take precedence and we encourage customers to find side streets or other parking options while road crews work hard to plow our streets," the post says. 

A press release from the department said heavy traffic and abandoned cars blocking roadways caused traffic problems during a similar mid-day snowfall last February. Drivers are advised to stay off the road to assist the city with snow clearance.

The department also announced crews will not be able to move into residential areas for some time, because priority routes must be passable first. 

UPDATE 11:30 a.m. Tuesday: The Columbia Police Department tweeted around 10:30 a.m. that all four lanes of I-70 near the Lake of the Woods exit were closed because of crashes. The Missouri Department of Transportation's Twitter reported two incidents, one near mile marker 131 of I-70 west and one near mile marker 129 of I-70 east.

The Columbia Police Department  tweeted a photo showing a wreck involving a semi-truck blocking several lanes. The wreck was on I-70 in the Westbound lanes just west of St. Charles Rd. Police recommended taking alternative routes and avoiding the area, and said to expect delays. "It will be several hours before I70 is cleared," they tweeted around 11 a.m.

UPDATE 10:05 a.m. Tuesday: Columbia Regional Airport is reporting that flights are scheduled to run as usual despite the heavy snowfall.

UPDATE 9:50 a.m. Tuesday: A winter storm warning is still in effect for central Missouri, with 4 to 8 inches of snow expected to fall throughout the day and into Wednesday morning. Residents are urged to avoid driving today due to hazardous road conditions. Columbia described the roads as "passable," as long as drivers are staying below posted speed limits.  

Columbia Public Works dispatched snow plows at 7:00 a.m. today to clear snow from 1st and 2nd Priority Routes. The City is asking residents to remove their cars from priority routes to make snow removal faster and more effective. 

KOMU is reporting accidents and limited visibility on US-63.

UPDATE 9:00 p.m. Monday: The University of Missouri has officially closed campus and canceled classes Tuesday. In a press release, the University says only employees that are situationally critical should go to work. Columbia College will also be closed Tuesday and daytime classes will be canceled. Columbia College will decide by 3:00 p.m. Tuesday whether to cancel evening classes. For the latest closure information, check KOMU's winter weather closings here.

Original Story:

The National Weather Service in St. Louis has issued a winter storm warning for heavy snow across Missouri. Forecasters are calling for 5 to 7 inches of snow in Columbia between Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

Meteorologist Jon Carney said the snow will probably start toward the end of the morning commute Tuesday, between 8 and 10, then continue on and off for most of the day.

“The initial burst of snow might be fairly heavy there in the morning, you might pick up a few inches pretty quickly, and then it’ll kind of taper off down to a more light snow that’ll just gradually accumulate into the overnight hours,” Carney said.

Columbia Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said in an email Monday evening that classes will not be in session Tuesday because of the winter weather warning. Jefferson City Public Schools also are canceled Tuesday.

Heavy snow is also expected in the Kirksville area. Al Pietrycha, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Kansas City/Pleasant Hill, said the storm should get in around daybreak Tuesday and end around sunrise Wednesday morning. Their latest estimate is between 7 and 9 inches in the Kirksville area by the end of the storm.

Columbia police said in a press release Monday afternoon that the best advice for driving in snow and ice is to not drive at all. They say if drivers do go out, they should wait until plows have removed snow and ice, then allow extra time to get to their destinations.