LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — The winter storm inches closer to the metro, ready to impact millions of people trying to travel for Christmas.
Road crews and emergency responders say they are ready, but need your help, too.
The Missouri Department of Transportation said it is fully staffed to run plows beginning Wednesday evening. Those plows will run through Thursday night. MoDOT says it has more crews on standby to work Friday, if needed.
The trucks have plenty of salt and other materials, according to crews. Planning for the wintry weather began last week and MoDOT says it’s been tweaking that plan with each updated forecast.
“It’s just one of those things that you prepare for it, you have your people, your equipment, your manpower, you watch the forecast, there’s a lot of internal communication during the storm and we adapt as we need to. Basically, it’s a waiting game. We know the snow will stop. We think that will be Thursday morning, and then there will be a time when we clean up, Lynelle Luther, Missouri Dept. of Transportation, said.
Snow isn’t the only thing MoDOT and the Missouri State Highway Patrol are concerned about with the storm.
“We don’t typically get all of the wind and the bitterly cold like this all at the same time. But it’s not unheard of,” Luther said. “Once the storm hits on this one the severe cold and the wind has me concerned.”
“Obviously we don’t know if it’s going to be as bad as it’s projected to be, or if it’s gonna be worse, we don’t know. But if you don’t plan for it, you’re gonna inevitably fail,” Sgt. Bill Lowe, Missouri State Highway Patrol, said.
A big part of that plan is on drivers according to Lowe.
He suggests leaving home with a full tank of gas. Make sure your car battery is fully charged, and your cell phone works. Pack extra blankets, coats, and gloves in the car, as well as an external battery for a cell phone and a car charger.
While troopers will be working during the storm, they warn the snow and cold will reach dangerous levels and will be a problem before they can reach everyone who may need help.
“It’s that time of year where we have this weather every year in Missouri, but as we know it’s the extreme cold that we aren’t used to. Those -30 degree temperatures are what concerns us for those motorists that are stranded on the highway or if they do become involved in a crash that we get them help as quickly as possible,” Lowe said.
MoDOT also reminds drivers to give snow plow drivers the room they need to clear the highways and roads to make them as safe as possible as quickly as possible.
Ultimately, the highway patrol says there is one great way to help both plow drivers and emergency crews.
“Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. If you don’t have to be out there, don’t be out there,” Lowe said.
Drivers who need help on highways can call *55 in Missouri and *47 in Kansas. The numbers will put them in touch with highway patrols in those states.
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