North Missouri has been fairly lucky so far this season when it comes to wintry weather.
Aside from a small amount of snow that fell on Saturday, December 4 that all but melted by the afternoon, it’s been a calm season for wintry weather here in north Missouri.
However, and it seems there is always a, however, the National Weather Service says that’s all about to change for us on Friday as those north of Highway 36 will experience drizzle and freezing drizzle throughout the day into the evening hours.
Now, I know what you are thinking. “I’ve got to get to the store! I need milk, eggs, toilet paper, and bread.” Don’t forget the bread folks, you don’t want to be stuck at home over the weekend without the staples in the kitchen.
Although the high temperature on Thursday will only hit the lower 20’s, you’ve still got time to hit retail establishments and get ready for that frozen precipitation. Don’t wait until the very last minute on Friday to hit the stores, or those kitchen staples may very well be depleted from store shelves. Besides, who likes a traffic jam in the stores? Some stores always remind me of Black Friday shoppers waiting to get in the doors.
Friday will bring us the beginnings of the next winter storm system, and according to the weather service, freezing drizzle is expected to push into the area late in the morning hours. The precipitation is to be patchy in coverage as it begins, but, freezing drizzle will impact all of northern Missouri overnight Friday night and is expected to transition to light snow Saturday morning. The weather service at this time expects accumulations to be minor, but the greater concern will be the dangerously cold temperatures that will hit the area Sunday morning as wind chills will dive to as low as -25. The further north you get to the Iowa/Missouri line, the colder those wind chills will be.
The forecast in north Missouri for this weekend is as follows:
Friday: A chance of freezing drizzle between noon and 5 pm, then a chance of drizzle after 5 pm. Cloudy, with a high near 32. Southeast wind 10 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.
Friday Night: A chance of drizzle before 7 pm, then a chance of drizzle or freezing drizzle between 7 pm and 11 pm, then a chance of freezing drizzle after 11 pm. Cloudy, with a low around 21. Southeast wind 6 to 13 mph becoming north after midnight.
Saturday: A 30% chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 22.
Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around -3.
Sunday: Sunny and cold, with a high near 11.
Sunday Night: Clear, with a low around 3.
While you should already have prepared for the Winter season, there are always things you can do so ensure the safety of you and those around you. When cold wind chills set in, be sure to layer up on clothes. There are also other items that you may not have thought about, and the folks over at ready.gov have some great safety tips to see you on your way.
- Before winter approaches, add the following supplies to your emergency kit:
- Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
- Sand to improve traction.
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
- Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
- Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- A NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts alerts and warnings directly from the NWS for all hazards. You may also sign up in advance to receive notifications from your local emergency services.
- Download FEMA’s Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings for a summary of notifications at: www.ready.gov/prepare. Free smartphone apps, such as those available from FEMA and the American Red Cross, provide information about finding shelters, providing first aid, and seeking assistance for recovery.
- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
Winterize Your Vehicle
Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
- Antifreeze levels – ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system – should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
- Brakes – check for wear and fluid levels.
- Exhaust system – check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
- Fuel and air filters – replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Heater and defroster – ensure they work properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability.
- Oil – check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
- Thermostat – ensure it works properly.
- Windshield wiper equipment – repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
- Install good winter tires – Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
Update the emergency kits in your vehicles with:
- A shovel
- Windshield scraper and small broom
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Snack food
- Extra hats, socks, and mittens
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- Tow chain or rope
- Road salt and sand
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares
- Fluorescent distress flag
Winterize Your Home
- Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
- Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
- Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in the case of a pipe bursting).
- Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
- Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
Know the Terms
Know the terms used to describe changing winter weather conditions and what actions to take. These terms can be used to determine the timeline and severity of an approaching storm. (Advisory / Watch / Warning). The NWS also issues advisories and warnings for other winter weather, including blizzards, freezes, wind chill, lake effect snow, and dense fog. Be alert to weather reports and tune in for specific guidance when these conditions develop.
Freezing Rain – Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.
Sleet – Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
Wind Chill– Windchill is the temperature it “feels like” when you are outside. The NWS provides a Windchill Chart to show the difference between air temperature and the perceived temperature and the amount of time until frostbite occurs. For more information, visit: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/windchill.shtml.
Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening. The NWS issues a winter weather advisory when conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous. If caution is used, these situations should not be life-threatening.
Winter Storm Watch – A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune into NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for more information. The NWS issues a winter storm watch when severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, may affect your area but the location and timing are still uncertain. A winter storm watch is issued 12 to 36 hours in advance of a potentially severe storm. Tune into NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, TV, or other news sources for more information. Monitor alerts, check your emergency supplies and gather any items you may need if you lose power.
Winter Storm Warning – A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
Blizzard Warning – Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
Frost/Freeze Warning – Below freezing temperatures are expected.
Caution: Each year, an average of 430 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and there are more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room with more than 4,000 hospitalizations. Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest during colder months. These deaths are likely due to increased use of gas-powered furnaces and alternative heating, cooking, and power sources used inappropriately indoors during power outages.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal¬ burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.
- The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, and fire.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
- If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
- Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.