(MONET) — At least 30 school districts across northern Missouri dismissed classes early Friday afternoon, to get students home before roads deteriorate during a major winter storm.
The National Weather Service (NWS) says freezing rain has started in northwest Missouri, part of a winter storm system that will impact much of the state this weekend. State transportation officials say roads in northwest Missouri are already covered or partially covered in snow or ice.
NWS Pleasant Hill meteorologist Scott Blair says the complicated system is bringing a combination of sleet and snow to far northwest Missouri.
“What we have ongoing right now is some freezing rain and that is going to cause quite a lot of problems as we continue on in the afternoon hours through those evening hour time frames,” Blair says.
Maryville and Bethany are expected to see five to eight inches of snow.
Mr. Blair says a line stretching from Kansas City to Chillicothe to Kirksville should see rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow.
“And as that colder air arrives after sunset we will start seeing that potential for both freezing rain and then eventually sleet to move into the area,” says Blair.
Four to six inches of snow are expected in Chillicothe and St. Joseph. Cities like Columbia and Moberly could see up to a quarter-of-an-inch of ice. Jefferson City could see some ice as well.
The NWS and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) are also warning you to be on the alert for refreezing of roads Saturday night into Sunday morning, across central, northern and western Missouri. Blair urges you to be cautious.
“The key point takeaway is don’t worry so much about the exact amount of snow forecast,” Blair says. “Just remember that this is going to be a combination of both a glaze of ice, followed by snow on top of that.”
Missourinet Cameron affiliate KMRN (AM 1360) reports more than 25 schools in northwest and north-central Missouri are dismissing early today. They include the St. Joseph, Gallatin and Princeton School Districts. Our Moberly affiliate KWIX (AM 1230) reports four districts have dismissed early in their listening area, including the Green City and Milan School Districts.
The NWS says a flash flood watch is in effect for southern and central Missouri, including Columbia and Springfield.