Winter weather predicted for Thursday, drivers urged to prepare
The National Weather Service is predicting that Saline County could get a taste of real winter weather Thursday, Dec. 20.
Light rain is expected to develop Wednesday night and should turn to snow after midnight.
Accumulations are expected to range from a trace to two inches, but the real problem will be wind, which is expected to range from 25 to 35 mph with gusts as high as 45 mph.
Snow and blowing snow will likely create very hazardous driving conditions Thursday, according to the NWS forecast.
MoDOT is reminding motorists about its winter weather travel resources, including the Traveler Information Map, at www.modot.org, which offers current views of road conditions for Missouri interstates and highways.
MoDOT also provides road conditions information through its Customer Service Center. Dial 888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636) to speak to a customer service representative. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even light precipitation can cause roads to become slick with ice or snow, MoDOT officials said.
Motorists should to allow extra time for travel and to check road conditions before driving.
Before the trip:
--Winterize your car with fresh antifreeze, a good battery, a properly operating exhaust system and oil that will withstand the rigors of cold weather.
--If possible, avoid driving until the roads are safe and passable.
--Do a thorough pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, paying special attention to your tires, brakes, windshield wipers and windshield wiper fluid.
Emergency supplies for vehicles:
--A flashlight with extra batteries
--A first-aid kit
--Blankets and/or sleeping bags
--Extra mittens or gloves, socks, a warm cap and rain gear
--A small sack of sand to use for traction under your wheels
--A small shovel
--Small tools -- pliers, wrench, screwdriver
--A brightly colored cloth to use as a flag
During the trip:
--Obey speed limits.
--Use common sense, and adjust your speed and following distance to suit driving conditions.
--Give snowplows plenty of room, and don't pass them.
--Always wear your seat belt.
--Remember that driving is most dangerous when temperatures are near 32 degrees.
--Watch for other vehicles having problems with road conditions.
--Keep mirrors, windows and lights clean; keep your lights on.
--Don't pass other vehicles on or near bridges.
--Keep your fuel tank at least half full.
--If you don't feel comfortable driving, pull off of the highway and park at the first safe place.
If trapped in a vehicle:
--Stay in the vehicle. Don't leave to search for help. It's easy to become disoriented and lost in blowing and drifting snow.
--Display a trouble sign. Hang a brightly colored cloth on the antenna.
--Run the engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Run the heater and turn on the dome light only when the vehicle is running.
--Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a window slightly for ventilation.
--Clap hands and move your arms and legs occasionally. Don't stay in one position for too long.
--If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.
--Huddle together for warmth.
--Use newspapers, maps and even car mats for added insulation.