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City of Columbia to put crews on roads early Saturday

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The city of Columbia says a 22-person plow crew will be on duty starting at 1 a.m. Saturday as heavy rain transitions to ice.

The city said in a news release that a new 22-person crew will relieve the initial crew at 7 a.m. Saturday.

LINK: Click for live Doppler radar

Heavy rain was moving into the Mid-Missouri area Friday afternoon and was expected to continue late into the night. The ABC 17 News Stormtrack Weather team has declared a Weather Alert Day for heavy rain followed by freezing rain and snow.

Forecasters expect 2 to 3 inches of rain followed by up to a quarter-inch of ice and another 1 to 3 inches of snow to accumulate. Road crews say the system's progression -- heavy rain preceding wintry precipitation -- means they won't be able to pretreat roads to reduce freezing.

The city of Columbia said crews will start to pretreat roads with salt and beet juice if the rain ends before the change to ice and snow. Authorities are telling drivers to stay off the roads, especially during the early morning hours.

Much of the area is under a flash flood watch combined with a winter storm warning or a winter weather advisory.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is also warning of increased traffic in conjunction with the Kansas City Chiefs' playoff game and students returning to college campuses after winter break. State highway conditions are available via the agency's online information map.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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