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St. Louis Area Wrestles Winter Storm Aftermath

Credit (Courtesy of the National Weather Service)
A graphic from the National Weather Service from Feb. 20 showed the potential impact of Thursday's storm.

Last updated at 11:57 a.m. 2/22. Will be updated as more information becomes available.

Quick links: 

​More details:

The NOAA has released a list (and graphic, below, in inches) of the official snow accumulation totals over the past 24 hours as of 7 a.m. Feb. 22.

Credit (NOAA)
A very colorful look at the different amounts of snowfall in the region as of 7 a.m. CT on Feb. 22.

  • The Missouri Department of Transportation says the roads and highways are mostly clear for this morning's commute. However, Kara Price with MoDOT, says motorists should watch out for blowing snow and abandoned cars from last night's traffic mess. Crews are also working this morning to clear ramps along the highways.
  • MetroLink reports that it's operating normal service with no delays Friday morning. MetroBus is starting the day on regular routes and no buses are on snow routes. Metro Call-A-Ride is also conducting normal operations Friday morning.
  • Lambert St. Louis International Airport is encouraging passengers to call airlines for the latest flight cancelations on Friday morning. As of 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 22, Lambert says that additional updates will be posted on their blog here.
  • The city of St. Louis has opened two warming shelters for those in need. One is at The Bridge at Centenery United Methodist Church (1621 Pine) and the Americorps shelter at 1315 Ann. Both are open to all in need.
  • Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency for Missouri.

Earlier story: Information listed below is here for reference only and may not be current:

On Thursday, Sgt. Al. Nothum with the Missouri Highway Patrol said he'd lost count of the number of calls for service troopers received. "I've never seen it come down this fast," he said, adding that the roads are not in good condition.

"We are hopeful that this will not be a terrible ice event, but we are prepared if it is," said Mayor Francis Slay. 

City streets director Todd Waelterman pleaded with residents to "hunker down" somewhere safe and give his employees the road.

"Up on Riverview, we had a incident where a vehicle ran underneath the back of our truck," he said. "There were eight flashing lights, a neon green 4-by-4 sign, yet they went underneath it. The operator was out of control, overdriving the roads."

The city has already made 3,700 calls to homebound seniors and other with special needs to make sure they are okay. Fire chief Dennis Jenkerson urged residents to check on their neighbors, and is reminding people to use 2-1-1 for non-emergency calls. 

  • St. Louis City Hall is closed today(Feb. 21). Non-essential city employees do not have to report to work.
  • According to Mayor Slay's operations director, the city's municipal court will have a skeleton crew until noon (Feb 21). All cases afterward are canceled.
  • The CityArchRiver report to the community scheduled for tonight (Feb. 21) is canceled. No new date has been scheduled.
  • The public meeting on development around the Fairview Heights MetroLink station is canceled, and has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 27.
  • Per Twitter, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville will close at noon today (Feb. 21) because of the expected weather. And the University of Missouri-St. Louis will close at 10:55 a.m. (Feb. 21)

From Feb. 21: Maria Carter with KCUR in Kansas City says the storm began in that area around 7 a.m., with heavy precipitation from the beginning. She's reporting quite a few accidents. Scott Harvey with KSMU in Springfield, Mo., is reporting about a quarter-inch of ice on roadways in the area. He says the area's public schools, colleges and universities are closed. His colleague, Michele Skalicky, reports "lots of ice covering sidewalks and freezing rain/sleet still coming down."
Our original story:

A potentially dangerous winter storm, packing not only snow but sleet and freezing rain, is expected to sweep into the St. Louis region Thursday.

Municipal and state officials are busy getting ready for what could be the worst winter storm since 2011. National Weather Service forecasters are calling for 1-3 inches of snow, along with up to 2/10 of an inch of ice in the St. Louis metropolitan area. NWS forecaster Scott Truett in says precipitation will be very intense as soon as it starts.

"It’s not going to be one of these deals where we get light snow accumulation of a quarter inch for four or five hours. Once the precip starts, it’s going to be heavy and it could be extremely heavy. And because of the intense nature of the precip and the cold ground, we’re thinking that road conditions are going to deteriorate very rapidly," Truett said.

Truett says the biggest impact of the weather will be during Thursday afternoon’s rush hour. The storm is expected to be out of the area by late Thursday night.

Roads and highways in the St. Louis area are already being pre-treated in advance of the storm. Officials with the Missouri and Illinois Departments of Transportation, along with the Highway Patrol from both states, are warning motorists to stay off the roads if possible Thursday. MoDOT engineer Becky Allmeroth says this will be harder to deal with than the usual snow storm.

"Considering this is going to be an icing situation we expect that the roads will be in a bad condition, it’s not going to clean up really quickly like snow. So, at the end of the precipitation once it all stops, it’s going to take many, many hours to get it clean and we think we’re going to be fighting this into Friday morning," Allmeroth told reporters Wednesday at a press conference at MoDOT's Ballas maintenance building. 

Corporal Al Nothum with the Missouri Highway Patrol, advised area residents to stay home from work and school on Thursday if at all possible.

"If you’re out in this and get caught in it, getting back home could be a very long and stressful event for the motoring public so we also are encouraging everyone to flex their time if they can, if they have that kind of job where they can stay home. We want everyone to be very careful, use good judgment," Nothum said.

As we mentioned before, this could be the worst storm in the Midwest since the Groundhog Day blizzard that started Feb. 1, 2011 and forced the closure of Interstate 70 across Missouri due to white-out conditions.

Follow Bill Raack on Twitter: @billraack

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.