Winter storm Gia hits Missouri

Photo By Shari Harris
Saturday midday left Licking with wet roads and snow on some surfaces, but in relatively great shape compared to much of Missouri.

By Shari Harris,

  The National Weather Service issued Winter Storm Warnings or Winter Weather Advisories for most of Missouri beginning as early as 6 a.m. Friday and continuing throughout the weekend. Winter Storm Gia was responsible for traffic snarls, power outages, school closings, airport delays, and communication issues.
  Interstate 44 west of St. Louis was shut down due to multiple wrecks Friday afternoon and did not reopen all lanes until Saturday afternoon, with many motorists spending the night in their cars on the interstate. The Missouri State Highway Patrol continued to warn drivers to avoid the area even after lanes were open. The MSHP had responded to nearly 4000 calls for help through Saturday afternoon, including more than 1800 stranded motorists and nearly 900 crashes. There were at least 4 weather-related traffic deaths in Missouri.
  Ice was an issue on the south edge of the storm, and wet, heavy snow caused problems to the north. Along U.S. Highway 60 east of Springfield, including the city of Seymour, heavy ice brought down tree limbs and power lines. The heavy snow in the Kansas City area was responsible for power outages. Over 70,000 Missourians were without power due to the storm.
  Licking R-VIII and surrounding school districts canceled classes Friday. Missouri State University in Springfield canceled Monday morning and afternoon classes in order to give students more time to return to campus for the new semester. The University of Missouri in Columbia canceled intersession classes that were scheduled for Monday and a winter welcome event for new students was postponed.
  In addition to travelers facing delays at multiple airports, 80 passengers on American Airlines flight 5766 were not injured when the plane slid off the runway at Columbia Regional Airport Friday afternoon, closing both runways temporarily.
  Local convenience stores reported issues selling lottery tickets due to communication difficulties with lottery headquarters.
  According to the NWS, Columbia set a new record for daily snowfall Friday at 10.4 inches, with more than 18 inches of snow accumulated by Saturday morning. Montgomery City recorded 20 inches, and more than a foot was measured in some places around St. Louis and Jefferson City.
  It took crews hours to clean around 8 inches of snow off of parking lots, seats and the field for Saturday afternoon’s playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts. Saturday’s SEC basketball game between Missouri and South Carolina had to be postponed. Both the Licking High School boys’ and girls’ basketball games at the MSHOF Basketball Classics in Bolivar for Saturday, Jan. 12, were postponed.
  Licking received a combination of ice and snow, but temperatures hovered near the freezing mark Saturday and kept the situation from developing into a crisis. Friday afternoon and evening, road conditions were the worst, but Licking was south of the deepest snow and north of the worst ice. The Missouri Department of Transportation worked throughout the weekend plowing or treating the roads, and monitoring them to keep them open. Now they are mixing cinders and getting their equipment ready for the next snowstorm, scheduled for next weekend.
  Intercounty Electric reported 1915 members without power at their peak, the majority of whom were located in the Mountain Grove, Cabool, and Solo areas. Intercounty Electric expressed their thankfulness for their amazing members who understand how hard their dedicated linemen work when the weather is at its worst.



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