Missouri News: City of Columbia prepares for possible winter weather, weekend of March 2-3

COLUMBIA, MO (STL.News) – The City of Columbia is monitoring and preparing to respond to winter weather that’s expected to impact the mid-Missouri area beginning the evening of Saturday, March 2.  City resources will be utilized in responding to the storm to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Watch expected to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 2 and expiring at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, which includes the mid-Missouri area.  In the event the storm makes travel impossible, NWS recommends winterizing vehicles and preparing at home by stocking up on emergency supplies, such as food and medicine.

Updates will be posted on the City’s various social media accounts.  Information on the City’s snow response operations, as well as a summary of the City’s ice and snow management policies and procedures, are available at CoMoSnow.com

Street Plow Crews: The Public Works Street Division is preparing for the potential of 2-5 inches of snow forecast for overnight Saturday through Sunday morning.  Temperatures are currently forecast to fall below 20 degrees, which can reduce the effectiveness of salt.  City plow crews are currently scheduled to report beginning Saturday evening to treat and plow priority routes in 12-hour shifts.  Public Works will announce specific plans on Saturday as the forecast and weather pattern becomes more clear.

Priority Routes: In Columbia, there are 475 lane miles of priority streets, or designated snow routes, that need to be treated/plowed to a near normal condition during winter precipitation.  Clearing these high-volume roads to a near normal condition ensures safe passageway to and from highways, hospitals, schools, fire stations, businesses and neighborhood areas.  Priority routes are plowed and treated 24 hours per day to get them to a near normal condition; other routes are plowed and treated to a passable condition during normal business hours once priority routes are near normal.  If snow reaches 4 inches, all of the City’s 1,350 lane miles will be plowed and treated 24/7 to a passable condition once priority routes are near normal.

Parking/2-inch Rule: By City ordinance, parking is not permitted on priority routes once snow accumulates 2 inches or more.  Parking Utility staff will do their best to warn drivers beforehand, but vehicles that are not moved off of priority routes in a timely manner are subject to ticketing and/or towing at the owner’s expense.  Moving vehicles allows street plow drivers to treat and plow priority routes more quickly and safely.  To be alerted when enforcement of the 2-inch rule will begin, sign up for alerts at Nixle.com or text COLUMBIAPW to 888-777.

Public Safety: The Columbia Police Department urges residents to refrain from using cruise control when driving on any slick surface, such as ice or snow.  Consider keeping a bundle of cold-weather gear in the vehicle, such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, medications and more.  Ensure the vehicle has a full tank of fuel at all times.  Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.

Warming Centers: The City of Columbia will open a temporary overnight warming center on Saturday, March 2, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Sunday, March 3, at the Wabash Station, 126 N. 10th St. In addition, Room at the Inn, a community-based winter shelter for persons experiencing homelessness, will provide shelter at First Baptist Church, 1112 E. Broadway, through March 2. From March 3 to 9, Room at the Inn will be located at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 W. Broadway.  For information about daily warming centers, visit CoMo.gov/Health/Human-Services/Social-Services/Warming-and-Cooling-Centers.

Power Outages: There is the possibility of strong winds with the winter storm, which could cause power outages.  If this occurs, Utility crews will work to restore power as soon as possible. Report a power outage by calling (573) 875-2555 and view outages via the Outage Viewer: outageviewer.gocolumbiamo.com.

Solid Waste: Solid Waste delays for trash and recycling pick up are possible if winter weather impacts streets and temperatures are below freezing.

Transit: Go COMO and Paratransit services are currently operating as normal but are subject to change depending upon weather forecasts and conditions.

Airport: Columbia Regional Airport’s main runway is open to commercial and general aviation traffic.  Individual airlines will determine their flight status into and out of COU.  Travelers should check their flight status directly with their airline.