Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cape Girardeau predicted to miss big storm; Farmington is not so lucky

The massive winter storm that is pummeling much of Missouri and Illinois led forecasts to use the word ‘blizzard’ yesterday.

The developing storm will be heaviest north of St. Louis, where 20 inches of snow is forecasted, according to meteorologist Doug Tilly with the National Weather Service in St. Louis. That doesn’t mean that communities south of St. Louis, like Farmington, will escape the storm.

“The temperatures are below freezing so we’re going to start looking at the ice accumulation starting up this morning already. And that’s going to be lasting through today and in to this evening, gradually transitioning over the sleet this evening and then it should be all snow late tonight,” Tilly says.

Ice accumulation in Farmington is expected to be around half-an-inch. One to three inches of snow is likely.

In Cape Girardeau, the storm should manifest itself primarily as rain. Dave Humphrey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Paducah, says that cold air will come in to the region tonight. The rain will change over to sleet and snow in Cape Girardeau, probably resulting in an inch of a slushy mix of snow, ice, and sleet.

Severe snow and ice are not predicted at the moment for Cape Girardeau, Humphrey says. But the area is so close to the winter storm that anything could happen.

“If there is any change at all to that forecast, as we all know things evolve quickly and can change, we kind of need to stay a step ahead of the game and be prepared just in case the cold air invades a little bit quicker," Humphrey says.

Even without the significant levels of snow, freezing rain, and sleet, Cape Girardeau and other southern regions will be impacted by heavy winds beginning tonight, according to meteorologist Doug Tilly. Still, the winds will bring the most damage to the northern areas that are covered in ice.

“The strong winds are still going to be in place through at least Wednesday morning. And that’s going to be impacting the ice accumulations with possible power outages,” Tilly says.

As of 7:30 this morning, Farmington street supervisor Terry Ferguson reports that the ice and freezing rain has yet to hit his city’s roads. “Right now it’s just all rain," Ferguson says. "It’s 30 degrees and raining pretty hard. We have a couple of slick spots on a couple of bridges. But other than that, it’s just all water right now.”

Ferguson says that his crews have not yet begun to work the streets. When the water freezes, Ferguson says, things could get treacherous pretty quickly.

"It’s freezing on the vehicles and that type of stuff. Not on the wires or the trees as of yet, but on the mirrors and the vehicles it is, but not the sidewalks and the streets yet," Ferguson says.

Ferguson will dispatch his crews when more ice is present.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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