SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — It’s looking like a winter wonderland in the Ozarks Thursday and many drivers are getting their vehicles stuck.
The National Weather Service puts the total snow accumulation at 6 inches as of 6:00 a.m. Thursday, but snow has continued to fall, and our meteorologists estimate there’s at least 7″ on the ground. Areas to the north and west of Springfield will see even more snow.
Springfield wasn’t the only town impacted by this winter storm. The storm disrupted life across three time zones closing courtrooms in New Mexico, blocking highways in Missouri, and causing crashes in Indiana. Bus service in parts of Illinois was stalled and as much as 10 inches of snow was expected in parts of Michigan.
More than 2,100 flights were canceled nationwide and Amtrak paused train service across the Midwest and the South.
Meteorologists say this is just the first phase of the winter storm. KOLR10’s Meteorologist T.J. Springer predicts a few more inches of snow will fall through Thursday.
This means residents will have to deal with traveling in the snow for a couple more days and many drivers are getting stranded on the road. Some can’t even make it out of their driveway.
Winter storms and slick road conditions are factors in more than 2,000 road deaths every year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Regionally, AAA researchers found 41% of traffic crashes and 33% of traffic deaths during the winter occur in adverse weather or on hazardous roadway surface conditions.
- Clear all snow and ice from the vehicle’s windows, roof, hood, trunk lid and any other covered areas. This will reduce risk, because it increases your visibility. Additionally, drivers around you won’t be blinded by snow blowing off your vehicle.
- Use an ice scraper to remove snow and ice from your windshield and all windows, including side and rear windows. This will improve your ability to see other roadway users that may move into your path of travel.
- To optimize visual clarity, clean the outside and inside of your windshield at least once a week. Frequent cleaning is even more important if you smoke.
AAA: Driving in the snow
- Make sure your headlights are on. In fact, it is a good idea to turn on your headlights any time you drive, because you will increase your visibility in any conditions.
- Reduce your speed and leave plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding.
- Do not use cruise control on any wet, snow-covered or icy roads.
- Be aware of possible icy roads. Be especially careful on bridges and overpasses, which freeze sooner than roads. And even at temperatures above freezing, if conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
- Be careful on infrequently traveled roads, which may not be cleared as often as other roads.
Additional Winter Driving Safety Tips from AAA Missouri
- BEWARE OF DOWNED POWER LINES AFTER AN ICE STORM. Never approach or drive over a downed line. Always assume the line is live and report it to the fire department or electric company.
- Check road conditions with online state travel maps before leaving home.
- Use your seatbelt every time you get in the vehicle.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage. In fact, modern vehicles do not require idle time prior to driving.
- Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
- Never leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
The spokesperson for the Springfield-Branson National Airport says there are no major problems at the airport in spite of the winter weather. Kent Boyd told us the airlines do a good job of letting people know about cancellations so people aren’t getting stuck at the airport.
Ways to stay updated on road conditions:
MoDOT’s traveler information map shows the conditions of major roads in the state of Missouri. IDrive Arkansas is a resource for drivers in the Natural State. Another great way to stay in touch is our weather app. It’s available for free in the Apple store. Android users can find the app in the Googe Play store.