Update: Lawmakers cancel sessions for rest of week
Mon, 31 Jan 2011 21:24:29 GMT —
Update: Feb 1st at 11:15 a.m.: Missouri lawmakers are wrapping up their work early this week because of the severe winter storm.
House leaders adjourned Tuesday morning after approving two measures. The full House is not scheduled to meet in a formal session until next week, though a few House committees still planned hearings. The House will hold technical floor sessions Wednesday and Thursday.
Also cancelled was an annual speech about the judiciary before a joint legislative session from Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice William Ray Price. Update: Feb 1st at 9:00 a.m.:
Local city officials are urging their residents not to travel if you don't have to. If you must travel, take an emergency kit with you in your car. In Columbia, officials are asking you to get your cars out of the streets so plows can clear. Also, officials ask residents to scoop snow to the right of your driveway, so plow crews won't block your driveway.Trash service for Tuesday and Wednesday is canceled in Columbia. If Tuesday or Wednesday is your scheduled day, your trash pick up will be next week on those same days.In Jefferson City, officials want to remind residents only to call 9-11 or the police department in emergencies. The MoDOT number to check road conditions is 1-800-222-6400.Also, they want to remind residents who live on city snow routes to move their vehicles immediately. The city is towing vehicles in the way of plows on those snow routes.Allied Waste Trash Service is canceled Tuesday in Jefferson City. Update: Jan 31st, 8:50 p.m.: Southwest Airlines has cancelled flights to and from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in anticipation of the blizzard.A spokesman for Southwest, Chris Mainz, said the airline halted flights at Lambert to avoid having planes stranded there.Some other airlines also shut down service at St. Louis.
Airlines have already started cancelling flights at Lambert and KCI for Tuesday and Wednesday, when the worst of the storm is expected to hit.Col. Ron Replogle, the head of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, says descriptions being applied to this storm by weather forecasters are the worst in his 27-year career and people should not plan on traveling in it.Governor Nixon has warned: "Folks should batten down the hatches and hold on."Police departments around mid-Missouri say they are making sure their officers have 4-wheel drive vehicles to get around in the storm.The Columbia Police Department has acquired several 4-wheel drive cars for officers to drive. Even so, the department warns that residents should expect longer wait times and that non-emergency situations may not be dealt with until after the storm. Update: Jan 31st, 3:30 p.m.:Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in Missouri and activated the Missouri National Guard.The executive order activates the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to assist cities and counties with their emergency preparations and responses. Governor Nixon will also be able to deploy Guard soldiers to support local emergency agencies if needed.The State Emergency Operations Center is now operating 24 hours a day to monitor conditions and determine where the Guard TMs help is needed.Gov. Nixon released the following statement in a press release. My chief concern is the safety of Missourians, and these orders make state agency resources and the Citizen-Soldiers of the Missouri National Guard available to help communities respond. As state emergency officials continued to track the storm over the weekend, we worked closely with local agencies and faith and community groups to ensure that Missouri is as prepared as possible.Original Story:The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for all mid-Missouri counties.This is the first time the Weather Service in St. Louis has ever had to issue a Blizzard Warning for any area.According the the Weather Service, a Blizzard Warning is issued when sustained wind speeds or frequent gusts of over 35 mph are expected for several hours with considerable falling and/or blowing and drifting snow.A Blizzard Warning is mainly used to make motorists aware of white-out conditions, which make travel extremely dangerous.To see the weather watches and warnings for your county click HERE.For mid-Missouri, here is the forecast:Light freezing rain and sleet will continue through the afternoon hours Monday, the Weather Service predicts.By Monday evening, the precipitation will change over to snow, which will continue all day Tuesday and end Wednesday morning.Accumulations will range from 12 to 20 inches, with the higher totals in the northern counties.The Weather Service says some areas could get more than 20 inches.Wind will also be an issue, the winds will become northerly and increase to 25 to 30 mph with frequent gusts to 40 mph by Tuesday afternoon and continue through Wednesday, according to the weather service.The Weather Service warns that blowing snow could cause white-out conditions.