Old Man Winter Arrives Early

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
According to KY3/KSPR Meteorologist Ron Hurst, winter weather arrived in the Ozarks about a month early this year, as was witnessed in Benton County when four to five inches of snow fell on November 12. The high temperatures around that time never got above freezing, making them way below the 59 degree average for that time of year. In response to this precipitation, Warsaw street crews were out from early morning until evening pre-treating city hills and intersections, and placing salt and sand on all 55 miles of city roads.
“Four men spent 11 hours on November 12, clearing city roads,” said Buster Young, Transportation Supervisor in Warsaw. “Another snowfall that fell a few days earlier only stuck to grass so we didn’t have to plow snow off the roads at that time.”
Young said that Warsaw has three trucks with snow plows and salt spreaders. It also has a skid steer loader for parking lots and uptown. A sand/salt mix is used for snow when the temperature is 20 degrees or above, but when it is colder, a beet juice brind is used that will melt snow when the temperature is as low as five degrees. He said that his office has three, 4-man crews for each day and night route, and that the City of Warsaw provides the best equipment and employees to ensure the safety of the roads.
“Every storm is unique,” said Young. “We hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Last year we had eight weather events, most which included freezing rain. One time, the freezing rain lasted 18 hours. Sometimes when we put down sand and salt, icy rain covers it up again. In the past we have had to fill out paperwork for FEMA assistance with the cost of clearing our roads when we had severe weather.”
County roads were cleared by crews under the supervision of Southside and Northside County Commissioners. South Commissioner Junior Estes said that two crew members spent eight and a half hours each pushing snow off blacktops, and another crew member spent four hours. He said that it took 10 hours just to do the blacktops, and there were still the gravel roads to be done. 
“The Northside crews had even more snow plowing to do than those in the south of the county,” said Commissioner Estes. “Roads that are lettered or numbered are taken care of by MoDOT. We take care of roads with names. It is important that people know this because we often get calls asking us when a numbered or lettered road will be cleared, and they need to contact MoDOT. However, in a big storm MoDOT will be focused mainly on Hwy 65 and Turkey Creek Hill on Hwy 7 South.”
Meteorologist Ron Hurst said on November 13, that snow doesn’t usually come to the Ozarks until an average of December 12. When asked about his predictions for the rest of November and for this winter, he said that long-range predicting was not his specialty, and that it was hard for any one that he knew or followed to accurately predict long range. However, he said that there appears to be a broad trough (a U-shaped line of low pressure) causing some cold weather. He said that long-wave troughs are slow to move and may be a pattern for weather to come. He said there will probably be shots of cold air that will then dry the air down, followed by a periods of average temperatures.
“I think this may be an active winter,” said Hurst.
For information on road conditions by county in Missouri, check out www.traveler.modot.org or call 1-888-ask-modot (1-888-275-6636).
Young said that his crews work year round on other road work including keeping water out of cracks in the road, replacing culverts under the roads and some driveways. They also trim trees to prevent school buses from hitting them when they turn corners, mow grass and take care of the flashing light on Commercial.