nws-01112018Earlier in the week medium threat was put in place as models suggested questionable weather moving in late week – for both today and Friday.  While models have determined that this could very well be a two phase event, it is the first phase that the admins are worried about.

The NWS as of 03:51 this morning has issued an Winter Weather Advisory

Phase 1 is expected to hit possibly during the evening peak and this is likely going to bring a wintry mix and a sharp temperature drop.  While severe thunderstorms are not going to be ruled out, the most likely scenario will be rain turning to freezing rain or snow.  (NOTE:  Mother Nature often means business with the dead of winter severe weather and the anything goes nature of winter in this area means all scenarios are on the table for Phase 1.) This phase WILL NOT MISS THIS AREA, so plan accordingly for Thursday afternoon and make wise decisions out there.

Phase 2 is expected to be an all snow event and as of the latest update we are on the fringes of that threat.  This phase will likely be an overnight one and that can make the Friday morning peak quite dicey.  However, Winter Storm Watches are in effect not even 75 miles east of St Louis on 64 and if truckers got any plans towards Louisville or Memphis this system will mean business.

The admins do expect Phase 2 will largely determine on how Phase 1 does (i.e. if Phase 1 moves in slower than expected it can potentially pull Phase 2 further northwest and closer to St Louis.)

As a result the admins are declining to upgrade the risk threat for the Thursday morning peak and the Thursday evening peak and Friday morning peak will depend on what happens with the weather. (A decision for Thursday evening will be made prior to 2 PM and Friday morning sometime between 1 and 4 AM.)


Freezing rain is possible on Sunday during the daytime hours as a system moves in.  While some models have temperatures going above freezing, the ground is ice cold from 14 straight days of below freezing temperatures and “icing from below” is possible.  In fact, while a high risk day is not being ruled out for Monday morning due to this black ice, Sunday is clearly an high risk day.

The NWS has issued Winter Weather Advisories for a reason:

Remember, a forecast like this going bust can have major impact – it takes very little ice to cause massive problems.da496b389be70a2bc33500a95bff97a72f173486b90398fd3be778a65a12822d

While the NWS has only put an Hazardous Weather Outlook for this section of 270 as of 08:30 AM, Winter Weather Advisories are in effect along I-70 west of 270 less than 100 miles away.

freezing drizzle

With an warm front advancing and the ground very cold – along with a light and variable wind, it is possible that mist and inversion fog may develop in advance of a very strong cold front expected to move into the area Saturday morning.  With the high temperatures this afternoon not expected to go above freezing, very little ice has the potential to cause massive problems.  To make matters worse, this stuff is expected to develop in time for the evening peak.  Winter weather that always come in time for a peak period, no matter how weak it is, tends to cause trouble, as it happened last year where .03 of an inch of precipitation caused massive problems thanks to a busted forecast.

There is snow expected less than 150 miles to the north but that white stuff should miss this area.  Following the cold front moving through Saturday the temperatures are expected to bottom out:

While there is still some snow on the ground from last weekend the majority of that snow has either compacted or melted from exposure from the sunlight.

gross meme

The bottom line:  while the threat remains at medium, the Friday evening peak will be gross and nasty.  Plan for extra time to get home even though the traffic has been lighter than normal all week due to the Christmas holiday.

Messy holiday weekend expected

Posted: 2017/12/22 in Weather
Tags: ,

futurama-one inch

The NWS has not issued any Winter Weather Advisories but a southern storm with borderline temperatures are expected to make a trip through the region tonight into Saturday morning, and a second system is expected sometime on Sunday morning.

The expected snow is around the 1 inch range with slightly higher amounts just to the southwest. This is the range where the most incidents tend to occur. Crews have been pretreating the roads, given the relatively poor timing of the snowfall. (Thankfully it is hitting the area on a weekend, not a week day.)

On Wednesday, one of the license plate readers put up in downtown St. Louis (if you are going to be a Clark Bridge regular, these devices are coming) supposedly identified a suspect vehicle from an crime earlier in the week.

Eventually the chase made its way to westbound 270 at 255 and that is where the news helicopters started to follow the chase.  The admins were at work at the time of the incident and missed the excitement that happened.

The chase went across the bridges nearly causing two incidents in the evening peak before the suspect got off the ramp to Riverview – the police had rolling road blocks set up further down the 270 mainline in North County but the suspect had other plans.

The chase would conclude later in downtown St. Louis, and the suspect is later booked on various charges.

That incident was a week after an shooting incident on Bellefontaine near Chambers last week that caused the police to block the 270 mainline from the river bridge to 367 for short time.

UPDATE 14:00 12/6/17:  The victim died from her injuries Tuesday evening with family by her side.  The family is from out of state and has requested donations to fly her body back home.  Our hearts and prayers are with the family at this time.

Around 20:00 last night, someone in a vehicle allegedly opened fire at another vehicle on westbound 270 between 367 and Old Halls Ferry, causing emergency crews to close all westbound lanes and multiple ramps at the 270/367 interchange for approximately two hours.

If you had noticed, the admins broke the news within minutes of the incident because on a normal basis 367 is the location where the traffic from the Clark Bridge commute and the normal 270 commute starts to mingle. Had an incident happened during a peak period, the backup would easily went into Illinois. This incident caused westbound 270 to back up to Bellefontaine, and caused major delays on the ramp to Dunn Road from northbound 367 as Dunn Road remained open and a lot of people went straight for that option. Throughout the livestream the detour route that was emphasized was Parker Road as it will get you back to Old Halls Ferry and New Florissant, where you can then return to 270.

This incident has summoned the Major Case Squad

No other details have been revealed since the lanes reopened.

In the wee hours of Monday morning when the admins posted the fog risk threat for this week, there was more than enough factors in play to put Thursday morning at HIGH risk:  calm winds, a warm day, cool night, and most importantly temperatures expected to be near the freezing point.  After one of the admins got off work early Thursday morning around 02:00 – the fears were confirmed and by 04:30 the live feed cameras were only confirming what could been happening:

As the morning lows dipped to 28 in Alton the admins made at least two posts on Facebook warning that river fog was present with the freezing temperatures and extreme caution was to be taken.  If that was not enough, Laura Hettiger was running her mouth at least two times during the 05:00 hour on Channel 4 to be aware of the fog threat.  One of the admins went to bed before 06:00 and the other was on the way to work after 05:30 there was not a lot of monitoring on either the Facebook or Twitter accounts.

At or around 06:50, the first of the multiple incidents that happened in a 20 to 25 minute time window happened westbound west of 367 and a second happened eastbound between Lilac and Riverview:

Within 10 minutes this was being reported:

By the way, even around 06:45 there was still river fog in the area of the river bridge by a TV reporter that was making a trip across while en route to an unrelated story:

It was clear that the freezing river fog caused a few slick spots during the AM crunch time and as soon one happened, all shit broke loose.

The river bridge one was in a bad spot too causing crews from Mitchell Fire Department to walk to the scene to get to the people. Luckily only minor injuries were reported in this ordeal.

There were some live videos as well

In the end, the westbound lanes at the bridge were closed for over an hour and it takes at least 90 minutes before things return to normal. The average delay was at least 60 to 90 minutes.  This morning should reinforce why river fog under certain circumstances can lead to the big incidents and all three incidents were consistent with people allegedly driving too fast for the conditions.  In fact, we are approaching the 40th anniversary of one of the first epic fails that happened on this section of 270 and it happened on a morning with freezing temperatures and conditions favorable for river fog.  What happened this morning was minor compared to what happened on the morning of November 12, 1977, and back in the late 1970s there was not much of a morning news scene, no internet, no social media, and everyone relied on the evening newspaper to get their gossip and CB radio for traffic conditions.

We are approaching the winter months, which can mean “anything goes” with Mother Nature – and that includes the return of severe weather potential.  While 2017 has been a quiet year on the severe weather front, the concern is the cold front that is projected to move through the afternoon hours.  The NWS has labeled this area at an enhanced risk, but we are on the fringes of that threat.

Weather often leads to infamous events happening here, especially between the months of November through May.  The biggest epic fails often happen during this time of the year – and more often than not on mornings that there is very favorable conditions of river fog.  In fact, in a few days we are approaching the 40th anniversary of one of the first epic fails that ever happened – on a very cold morning where conditions for river fog was allegedly favorable.


Weather permitting, off-peak lane closures on the river bridge will occur from 09:00 to 15:00 daily from 9/18 to 9/21, as IDOT crews are expected to do more patching.  While delays are expected as soon as you cross the canal bridge, do not be surprised to see delays stretch towards 255.  Expect reduced speed limits, higher police presence enforcing the speed limits, and delays.

On the afternoon of 9/16, expect at least 1000 motorcycles to make their way on WB 270 from Route 3 through North County as the infamous annual ride known as Ride of the Century makes its return.  The organizers keep the exact route details under wraps but almost every year that this event is run they have used this section of 270. (2013 was an exception due to the weather.)

If you are wondering why this post has to be made every year, it is not about giving these people attention – its about warning the people that use this section of 270 about the illegal acts that they may engage. We have not seen any sideshows or rolling freeway shutdowns up here in the past years, but we have seen incidents and a lot of wheelies.

Speaking of incidents, this one last year still grinds the gears a bit:

This video is from two years ago

What you should expect:

  1. Rolling mainline closures anytime between 13:00 to 17:00 on Saturday.  The exact time they cross will be random but in past years it was between 14:30 to 15:30.
  2. People involved in the ride will be making poor decisions.  With at least 1000 motorcycles involved there will always be “that guy” moments.
  3. Professional stunt bike riders will likely be in the front of the pack.
  4. Heavier than normal police enforcement – Saturday has been a major speed trap enforcement day on 270 in recent weeks – don’t be surprised to see bears in the air.

If you get caught up, give these riders the right of way but do not pull over.  Most of these riders will be making use of the shoulders.