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Snow, Sleet And Freezing Rain Expected To Cause Travel Headaches Friday In St. Louis Area

Salt on a snowy road in St. Louis County. Road salt washes into nearby streams and can contaminate drinking water wells.
File photo | Danelle Haake | St. Louis University

Snow, sleet and freezing rain are forecast to hit the St. Louis region over the next 24 hours, possibly causing hazardous conditions Friday morning.

According to the National Weather Service’s St. Louis branch, snow will develop late Thursday night over central Missouri before spreading east across the St. Louis area Friday morning.

NWS meteorologist Jared Maples said St. Louis most likely will see precipitation begin between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Friday when the storm moves in from the southwest and northeast. He said snow will likely lead off the storm and, around noon when warmer air moves in, will turn to sleet and freezing rain.

That snow will mix with sleet and eventually become freezing rain expected to last throughout the day.

A half-inch of snow and sleet is expected to fall in the St. Louis area, though that could vary depending on where you live. Different parts of the metro area are forecast to receive anywhere from 0.01 to 0.10 inches of ice. Up to a quarter-inch is possible to the north and west, including downtown St. Louis and parts of Madison County, according to the NWS weather maps.

Maples said the forecast could change depending on how long the cold air holds out in the area.

“Obviously these ice and snow mix cases have a very fine line. You move a degree or two, and you can get a completely different scenario,” Maples said. “It depends on the cold air and how long it will hold out before the warm air moves in and takes over.”

Maples said that hazardous road conditions are likely and that travelers should adjust their travel plans for the afternoon and evening.

“Likely at some point, it will be all freezing rain,” he said. “Between noon and 6 p.m., give or take an hour or so, you’ll probably see some hazardous travel for that period especially.”

After that, according to the NWS forecast, nonfreezing rain will continue through Saturday.

The storm was originally expected to begin Friday evening in St. Louis, Maples said, but because of a “slower progression,” that forecast has changed. He said that as the storm gets closer, more details will be clear.

“We’re pretty well entrenched in the potential for freezing rain at this point; it looks like pretty good likelihood,” he said.

Maples said central and northeast Missouri and western parts of Illinois are expected to see the worst of the storm.

Kavahn Mansouri is a reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio

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