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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Heavy snowfall pounds Midwest

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Steve Sikes shovels snow off the sidewalk in front of his business Thursday morning
(Photos by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
Winter storm closes schools, causes accidents

SIKESTON -- Area residents woke to falling snow that quickly accumulated, closing schools and creating traffic problems.

The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings and watches for the areas, with some predicting 3 to 7 inches before the snow stopped. East Prairie residents were reporting 4-5 inches by 8 a.m.

"We haven't had any accidents reported yet but we have had lots of calls about school closings," said an official at the East Prairie Police Department.

"So far its not so bad," reported Joe Sebourn of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety at 9 a.m.

Area residents reported the snow beginning to stick around 4:45 a.m. with roughly half of the expected 8 inches of snow covering streets by 9 a.m.

And the mounting snow closed schools throughout the area. Schools were reported closed in Pemiscot, New Madrid, Mississippi and Scott counties.

Meanwhile, the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department in Charleston reported vehicles sliding into ditches.

"We've got one car turned upside down a lot of people slipping and sliding," added a law enforcement official from the Scott County Sheriff's Department in Benton."

Slick roads were creating problems in Pemiscot and New Madrid counties, particularly along Interstate 55. Law enforcement officials were recommending people avoid getting out and if they must drive, to take extra time to reach their destinations.

Much of northwestern Missouri and eastern Kansas received the first measurable snowfall of the season, but the moisture was not expected to make a dent in the drought conditions.

By late Wednesday, snowfall reports in Kansas ranged from just under an inch in Topeka to 3 to 4 inches in Nemaha County. Slick roads and several minor accidents had been reported around Salina.

The worst part of the storm may be the winds that are expected to blow Thursday, the weather service said, along with highs only in the 20s.

''The focus of this storm will be in our area and to the north,'' said Mike Looney, a weather service meteorologist in Kansas City. ''It looks like maybe it's our turn this time.''

Looney said there has been virtually no measurable precipitation in the Kansas City area for almost two months, and this storm likely won't amount to much, either.

''This won't help the drought in any way,'' he said. ''The water content will be relatively low. But even if it was wet snow, it wouldn't help much because we're so far behind.''

Missouri Department of Transportation crews were spraying salt brine Wednesday onto major highways in the eight-county Kansas City district to keep the snow from binding with the pavement.

Joel Blobaum, a spokesman for the transportation department's Kansas City district, said 200 plows were scheduled for 12-hour shifts to clear the roads.

''Our main concentration will be getting the interstates clear, and the main lines,'' he said. ''There's not much we can do about blowing snow except go back and clear what gets covered up.''

At Orscheln Farm and Home in Maryville, people were stocking up Wednesday on sand tubes to weigh down the backs of their pickup trucks, said Amy Affort, a sales clerk.

Snow shovels and ice melt also were popular items throughout the morning.

''Most people don't want the snow, but we need the moisture,'' Affort said. ''When it snows and gets cold, it does make a difference in how much people buy.''

In Cameron, people weren't necessarily buying more things at the Country Mart grocery store, but the number of people shopping seemed to be up.

''I've heard people say we need the moisture because it's been real dry,'' said Marvin Reid, store director. ''But I guess I don't see anything out of the ordinary; there are just more people out.''

Information for this article was also provided by the Associated Press.