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Crews Prepare for Winter Weather

Crews across Mid-Missouri are preparing for Thursday’s chance of snow and warning drivers to be ready for a slower-than-normal commute.The ABC 17 Stormtrack weather team is forecasting a light amount of snow to fall during Thursday morning’s commute, which could make traffic difficult.”Historically, on the day of the first significant snowfall in Columbia, our call volume increases significantly due to automobile accidents,” said Columbia Fire Captain John Metz in a statement. “This is especially true when the precipitation occurs during morning or evening rush hour.”The Columbia Fire Department is warning drivers that bridges and overpasses may ice even with air temperatures above freezing. Drivers are also asked to use additional caution on wet, icy or snow-covered roads because it is a sight Mid-Missouri has not seen in awhile.”Coming off a mild winter last winter, so people tend to forget how to drive in snow,” said Columbia Public Works spokesman Steve Sapp.The city will be monitoring the weather and will be prepared to begin plowing should city streets need cleaning.”Of course we have the full crew on stand by, we’ll have several trucks out,” said Sapp. “We are prepared to bring in more personnel and more equipment when it’s needed.”MoDOT says crews will be out on the roads Thursday morning to monitor roadways. They are asking drivers to now pass snow plows even on a multi-lane road.”With snow, wet roads and falling temperatures expected, road conditions will likely be less than ideal Thursday morning,” said MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester. “We encourage motorists to plan ahead and allow extra time for their morning drive.”The agency places the highest priority on roads with the highest traffic volumes, including I-70, Stadium Boulevard and Providence Road. Crews will then plow and treat lower volume lettered or numbered routes if needed.Experts advise drivers to winterize their car by ensuring it is proper working order with enough gas and windshield de-icer fluid. Cars should also have an emergency kit that includes a snow and ice scraper, small shovel, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, tow strap, sleeping bag, boots, extra clothing, non-perishable food, bottle of water, bag of hard candy, first aid kit and flares.Other advice from transportation officials:* Clean off all windows and brush snow completely off your car as well as the headlights.* Turn on your headlights for visibility.* Slow down.* Steer and brake gently.* Accelerate slowly at intersections.* Allow plenty of following distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.* Stay back 100 feet behind snow plows that may be spreading salt. Do not pass snow plows even when on a multi-lane road.

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