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Government, Politics & Issues

St. Louis Prepares For First Substantial Snow Of 2015

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(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)
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St. Louis area road crews are preparing for the first real snow storm of the year. The forecast is calling for four to eight inches to fall overnight, with another one to three inches expected on Monday.

According to Maggie Crane, spokeswoman for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, the St. Louis Streets Department began treating roads with brine Saturday and they were putting down another layer Sunday. Crane said snow plow crews are working 12-hour shifts.

St. Louis County road crews are also moving to 12-hour shifts, said David Wrone of the St. Louis County Department of Transportation. The crews will salt the roads and then be on stand-by, ready to begin plowing as soon as there’s snow on the roads.

“We’ll be a constant presence on the St. Louis County’s roads and streets. We maintain 3,100 lane miles, so obviously that’s a heck of a lot of pavement. But we’ve got a large crew, well-trained and experienced. And this is what we train for,” Wrone said.

The timing of the snowfall ordinarily would cause a headache during the morning commute, but Wrone said President’s Day will lessen the impact.

“It’s a holiday, so a lot of people are going to be off. We won’t have schools and I know a lot of public institutions are closed. So that’s a bonus,” Wrone said. “Anytime you’ve got snow plows and salting vehicles in the midst of morning rush hour traffic it’s not ideal, so that’s one bright side.”

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Credit Courtesy NOAA.
Snow forecast from the National Weather Service for Sunday February 15, 2015 and Monday February 16, 2015.

Wrone also requested that people parked on smaller streets in St. Louis County move their cars if possible so that snow plows can get through.

St. Louis also asks that cars parked on snow routes be moved if possible. Cars parked more than 12 inches from the curb may be towed.

Like last year, St. Louis will plow side streets if necessary once the city’s main streets are clear. But according to Crane, crews will also be adding a step in response to a problem they discovered last time.

"What we learned from the last time around was ... if plows were coming down and plowing those major arterials, it often would create snow banks right at the mouth of a side street," Crane said. "That's where people have a tendency to slip and slide a bit more trying to get over that snow accumulation."

So this year, plows will go back to the intersections of main streets and side streets to clear those snow banks once the first round of plowing is done, said Crane.

Due to the continued cold, emergency overnight shelters will again be open Sunday night in the city and county. The St. Louis shelter is at the 12th and Park Recreation Center. St. Louis County has emergency warming centers at the Affton Community Center and the St. Vincent Community Center.

Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.

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