The Ill. Dept. of Transportation (IDOT) and Ill. State Police want drivers to be prepared for winter weather. Both agencies have launched the annual "Ice and Snow-Take it Slow" campaign.
Joe Monroe, operation engineer with IDOT, says during a winter storm drivers should use common sense and postpone trips that aren't necessary. If you do have to get out, allow plenty of time to get to your destination and stay behind plows.
By state law, Missouri students have to be in class for at least 174 days and 1,044 hours. Most districts build a few extra classroom days into the schedule in order to be able to call school in case of bad weather.
Snow plows stand at the ready for the Missouri Department of Transportation. A major winter storm is expected to hit the St. Louis area, beginning with freezing rain, later today. (Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)
Good morning! Here are some headlines to start your week:
Missouri is bracing for a winter storm that could dump as much as a foot of snow on the ground before it's over. Doug Tilly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service says the brunt of the storm is going to be Tuesday into Tuesday night and much of Missouri and Illinois are going to get some part of the storm.
We would strongly suggest not planning to get out of your home for a couple days after this storm." - Doug Tilly, National Weather Service meteorologist
The weather service says roads will become snow covered and travel will be difficult to extremely dangerous on Tuesday. Forecasters say the storm has the potential to bring travel to a halt over much of Kansas and Missouri on Tuesday and Wednesday. Winds are expected to pick up on Tuesday and cause near blizzard conditions on all major highways.
Governor Pat Quinn today will make civil unions legal in Illinois. He will sign the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act at a a ceremony in Chicago. Couples who enter into a civil union will be able to make health care decisions for their partners, be allowed hospital visitation rights and will have inheritance protections. But Bob Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, says allowing civil unions is a step in the direction of legalizing same-sex marriages:
Our concern is the nature of marriage really isn't debatable because it is by definition a union between one man and one woman and when the state passes such a law of civil unions it creates a concern because it goes against the natural law." - Bob Gilligan, executive director, Catholic Conference of Illinois
Civil unions will be legal starting June 1. Illinois becomes the sixth state to take the step.
With snowy weather comes many opportunities for recreation, but sometimes that recreation turns into something very different.
The Office of the Coroner for Madison County in Edwardsville, Ill. reported the death of 41-year-old Kelly J. Strohmeler this morning. Strohmeler died after the snowmobile she was riding in a snow-covered farm field struck a rut in the field and ejected her.
Snow blanketed many areas of Missouri last night and into this morning, including in Jefferson City, Mo. pictured here in 2009, the site of Gov. Nixon's State of the State address last night. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
A winter weather advisory is in effect for the St. Louis region until 6 p.m. Thursday evening. Heavy snow fell overnight in St. Charles County, Northern St. Louis County, St. Louis City and Madison County, Il. The National Weather Service says more snow is expected throughout the day. Some places in the St. Louis region might see 12 inches of snow by the time the snow stops.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon proposed flat funding for public schools and cuts to colleges in his annual State of the State speech. In his address last night, the Democratic governor acknowledged that "times are tough" and he said that even modest job gains are cause for celebration. Nixon put forth a plan to slightly shrink the state's spending, shedding several hundred state workers and privatizing some of their functions. He proposed a $23.1 billion operating budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Missouri lawmakers are urging Attorney General Chris Koster to challenge the federal health care law. The Republican-led Senate passed a resolution Wednesday asking the Democratic attorney general to either file his own lawsuit, join a suit by other attorneys general or join a suit filed by Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. A similar resolution was passed last week by Missouri's Republican-led House of Representatives. Koster's spokeswoman has said only that the office is monitoring the situation. The Missouri legislative action comes as Republicans in charge of the U.S. House are attempting to repeal the federal health care law enacted last year by President Barack Obama. That effort is not expected to receive support in the U.S. Senate, which is still controlled by Democrats.
Snow plows stand at the ready for the Missouri Department of Transportation. The National Weather Service is predicting another snowfall of 3-6 inches for the St. Louis area beginning this afternoon. (Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio)
MoDOT crews began treating roads last night with a salt brine mix. Bruce Pettus, maintenance superintendent for MoDOT, says as the snow begins to fall, conditions will begin to deteriorate during rush hour traffic, making it difficult for crews to clear the roads.
"That's why we're asking the motorists to minimize travel, maybe leave a little early from work. And make that commute before we get accumulating snow. And then this evening, do the same thing, minimize travel. We're gonna have all of our forces on the road, but it'll just allow us more space to work."
Pettus says MoDOT will have over 200 trucks on the road once the snow begins to accumulate.
We have more details on the storm and tips for your holiday drive. We'll also keep you updated on any major changes in the weather here as it develops, but for real-time weather information, see the Missouri Department of Transportation's real-time traveler information map.
Freezing rain overnight turned area highways into skating rinks for early morning commutes. At one point on Wednesday night, sections of Interstates 70, 44 and 55 were closed in the St. Louis area because of accidents.
150 MoDOT trucks salted the roads overnight, says the agency's Kara Price.