COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
As winter weather moves close to Mid-Missouri, several agencies are gearing up for poor road conditions.
Columbia Public Works spokesman Barry Dalton said the agency is closely monitoring weather conditions. He said public works is fairly confident it will have a winter weather response to the storm.
"It's really the slickness we are worried about," Dalton said. "We'll plow the snow if it comes, but slickness can catch people by surprise it can come suddenly, and there's often not a lot that can be done to prevent the slickness from happening."
He said because of the forecasted rain, they will not be able to pretreat the roads because it will all be washed away.
Dalton said the department's trucks are ready and they have crews on standby. The department will continue to monitor the storm and road conditions and decide a solid course of action on Friday.
"We like to say because it's true, we don't really have normal snows, particularly in Mid-Missouri," Dalton said. "It's very important for our engineers to monitor local, regional and state forecast."
Boone County Road and Bridge Director Greg Edington said his team met Thursday morning to discuss their plan for the winter storm.
He said at about noon on Thursday that he expects to bring crews in for a day shift on Saturday. He doesn't think they will bring in a crew overnight unless something changes in the forecast.
"Timing is 99 percent of it," Edington said.
Edington said the pavement temperatures were at 53 degrees when he checked the at 9 a.m. Thursday.
"It's going to take a while for the ground to freeze back up, so that's a good thing," Edington said. "But that lends more uncertainty to what we are going to do."
He said because of the rain in the forecast, pretreating the roads is out of the question. "You're just going to be throwing money away," Edington said.
The Boone County Fire Protection District tweeted a reminder for drivers to be prepared during the storm. The district says to never drive over flooded roadways and have a winter weather kit in your vehicle.
Jefferson City Public Works Operations Director Britt Smith said he hasn't seen a storm forecast like this since he started.
"It's definitely got us on edge as to what we could be up against on the back end of this storm," Smith said. "The way it actually unfolds could change this dramatically."
Smith said if the current forecast holds, his agency plans on having a full crews start around 2 a.m Saturday and continue through the day. They will then move to a smaller crew for the overnight hours and another crew for the clean-up Sunday morning.
He says the supervisors will be in all weekend monitoring the roads and temperatures to decide when to bring crews in.
He also mentioned they won't be able to pretreat the roads because the amount of rain in the forecast would wash it all away.
Smith said he is worried the most about the transition from rain to snow overnight Friday into Saturday.
"We have to make sure we have crews in and ready to go out because as this temperature drops and that freeze occurs, we don't want to be trying to bring our guys in the middle of that because they have to get to the shop," Smith said.
Smith said because the winter weather is forecast to start around 2 a.m Saturday and last through 9 p.m., staffing poses a challenge.
"I've got to figure out how to have enough crew that I can cover from the beginning of the storm all the way to the end and clean up," Smith said.
Cole County Public Works Director Larry Benz said his agency will monitor the roads overnight Friday into Saturday.
"All you can do it wait 'til everything starts to solidify up either with snow or ice before you can really start," Benz said. "The rainfall will wash anything off that you try to put out there."
MoDOT tweeted Thursday warning drivers of potential flash flooding caused by this system.
Check back for updates and watch ABC 17 News at 5 and 6 for more on the Weather Alert Day.