What goes into MoDOT’s winter-weather preparations

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo- Winter weather is soon going to be hitting Missouri again in 2020.

Chief Meteorologist Jamie Warriner is forecasting that a winter weather advisory is coming to the Ozarks Wednesday morning and lasting through most of Thursday.

Now with the forecast, Darin Hamelink, MoDOT District Maintenance Engineer, and the rest of MoDOT are gearing up.

Darin shared the process of how MoDOT decides what plan to use when it comes to winter weather.

“Typically, we do a conference call well in advance of any storm typically 24 hours in advance. In a storm like this that’s going to impact the entire state of Missouri, we have all seven districts call in,” says Darin.

On that call you can expect to hear from:

  • The MoDOT Director
  • MoDOT crews around the state
  • The National Weather Serice
  • Iteris, a traffic and weather service company
  • Highway Patrol
  • FEMA

“We’ll get input from all seven districts from the field, which is us, in terms of what time we think we need to report in,” he says.

Once the parties on the call know the conditions, they will plan their winter weather strategy for road treatments, when to get crews out, and where to go for dense hit areas.

Darin says with this storm coming Wednesday; they have planned for crews to come in around 3 a.m.

Tuesday, January 21 Evening Forecast

MoDOT’s main office in Jefferson City sent a press release Tuesday afternoon about the storm saying,

“This is a slow-moving front and will produce a variety of precipitation over the next three days. Travelers are urged to remain vigilant and keep informed of rapidly changing weather conditions. With the intermittent periods of liquid and freezing precipitation throughout the day, motorists might become complacent about their safety and assume roads are only wet. Be advised that the transition from rain to ice may come quickly and without warning, creating hazardous road conditions in a matter of seconds. Use caution through the duration of this winter event and don’t drive distracted.”

The press release states that since the nature of this wintry mix is complicated, MoDOT may not treat the roads as usual.

“Once we get passed the early morning hours into mid-morning into the afternoon, it’s going to switch over into rain. So, we’ll probably be treating a little bit in the morning and the stop treating when it rains and the ground temps come up, and then going into Wednesday night, we may be back at it again,” says Darin.

He continues to say that this storm system is looking like a 72-hour event for MoDOT, with more weather expected at the tail-end of the storm.

To stay up-to-date on road conditions go to MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map, there is also a MoDOT app you can download on your mobile device.

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