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Crews Prepping for Winter Storm

Emergency crews tell ABC 17 News they are already gearing up for Thursday’s winter storm. However, they say it’s no easy task because crews still do not know exactly what type of precipitation will fall and where.The Missouri Department of Transportation is anticipating anything from snow to sleet and rain to ice and they are encouraging all drivers to do the same.”We have to be prepared for anything,” said Mike Belt of MoDOT.Belt says the uncertainty of what type of precipitation will fall means the agency must over-prepare. By Wednesday evening, MoDOT will have 225 dump trucks in the Central Missouri District to clear roadways.The road crews will have to plot carefully since a few degrees can mean the difference between ice and rain and therefore lead to a difference in when crews can pre-treat highways.”The more it rains before the snow, it just dilutes the salt and washes away that mixture,” said Belt. “So as the temperature turns to freezing then we add salt.”Rain and snow are just half the battle and concern.”With this projected ice storm there could be some utility problems,” said Martina Pounds of Boone County Emergency Management. “We could have outages.””They’re talking about 35 miles per hour wind gusts, there’s a potential for tree limbs and power lines to be down,” added Belt.Belt says MoDOT is preparing chainsaws and other gear to be able to clear roads if ice causes trees to fall. He says drivers should also prepare for the dangers of ice.”Drivers can run into a section of roadway that’s not shaded and be fine and it be wet, and 100 feet later, it becomes icy and slick, and a lot of times that’s what causes those accidents,” he said.Emergency officials advise drivers to travel slowly, leave early and if you don’t have to, don’t leave at all. If you must travel, they say to have emergency snow kits in the car.”Always have emergency kits in your car available, maybe extra blankets, extra jackets, some boots, if you have to get yourself out or push or anything like that,” Pounds recommended.Pounds advises residents to take a walk around their home Tuesday night before there are any signs of the storm to look for power lines or trees nearby. It does not take much ice to weigh down power lines, possibly cutting electricity briefly or causing other power outages.Emergency management officials say they will have extra staffing for ambulances and at local fire departments in preparation for anticipated car wrecks.

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