County escapes brunt of late winter storm | Events held in spite of weather scale back

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Temperatures hovering just above freezing and rain turning to "slail" in isolated spots made driving hazardous in places around Saline County early Saturday afternoon, March 28.

Conditions were especially poor shortly after 1 p.m. in southern Saline County.

Emergency responders received a cluster of reports of vehicles off the roadway near the Interstate 70/U.S. Highway 65 junction.

No reports of injuries were posted to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Web site, however.

A motorist driving through the junction on her way to Slater about that time reported roadways made slick by precipation she described as "slail," too big for sleet, too small for hail. She said a stretch of Highway 240 at Montague Hill was also covered with the icy precipation.

Other than that brief period of icy precipitation and brief snow squalls later in the afternoon and overnight, Saline County escaped the worst of the storm.

Forecasters had predicted Friday that as much as eight inches of snow might fall Saturday afternoon and evening.

Predictions early Saturday reduced the expected snow accumulation but included mixtures of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow.

In Marshall, residents woke Sunday morning, March 29, to a light coating of snow on lawns, but bright sunshine and temperatures in the mid- to upper-40s by mid-afternoon soon took care of what little snow there was.

Attendance suffered at several area events held in spite of forecast winter weather, but organizers made the best of a dreary day.

Slater's third annual Steve McQueen Days was held Saturday, March 28, though some of the scheduled events were cancelled.

The car show was called off because of the weather, and neither the Vintage Iron Museum nor the Missouri wine tasting took place, as those vendors were from out of town and did not want to travel in the wintry conditions.

A karate demonstration by Salt Fork YMCA, also scheduled for the Days, was cancelled.

Friends of Steve McQueen were present at the event to tell their stories about McQueen and themselves.

Pat E. Johnson, a martial artist, worked as McQueen's personal trainer. He spoke about his relationships with Chad, McQueen's son, and Steven, his grandson, who both are planning to come to Slater for the next Steve McQueen Days, Johnson said.

Loren Janes, a stuntman, was McQueen's double for most of his career. He recalled what he said when he first met and worked with McQueen.

"I'm here to make you look better than you can make yourself look," Janes said. Although his attitude surprised McQueen, Janes said, it marked the beginning of a great working relationship.

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