Posts Tagged ‘winter’

While the NWS DOES NOT have Winter Weather Advisories in effect for this area (but they do have in effect in the counties along and north of I-72), snow is expected to come just before the Monday morning peak:

While the ground temperatures are above freezing, an recent cold snap and the fact nobody has seen the white stuff for two months may mean very slick roads. (There has been more severe weather outbreaks than inches of snow this season to put this in perspective.) With that in mind combined with a recent run of terrible form when it comes to the North County drive (with last week AM peak fatal MVA on WB 270 in consideration), the admins made the decision to put the AM peak at HIGH risk. (It is also a full moon out there as well so people may be driving much more crazier than normal.)

While not a lot of snow is expected (the worst is expected to remain to the north), the timing can cause big problems as it does not take a lot of snow to cause gridlock, given that 270 up in North County is hilly and the 1-3 inch range is where people often get complacent when it comes to snow.

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For the first time in just over 10 years an ice storm warning has been put in effect.  The winter weather event that hit an month ago was just a dry run compared to what this storm is bringing and as such all the schools along 270 in North County and the Riverbend have called off classes for tomorrow.

To add to the misery, tomorrow is Friday the 13rh which is a day known to superstition as either good luck or bad luck.  With the past history with ice events along 270 we know it will likely bring bad luck out there so please stay off the roads.  A state of emergency has been issued for Missouri.  The worst will likely happen just to the southwest, but the storm could very well come in time for the morning peak.  The morning peak is going to be very questionable and the evening peak will likely be like this:

iced-earth-horror-show

The bottom line is stay home if possible because your kids are already home from school on what turned out to be a 4 day weekend for them.

If you must head out please note the crews will be out and treating the roads.  Earlier this afternoon they were out prepping the bridges:

wb270-01122017

The NWS has issued the Ice Storm Warning for the area until Sunday, when the temperatures are expected to be warm enough to turn all the freezing rain into plain liquid rain and the conditions will slowly improve for the remainder of the event.

Remember, when there is ice, it takes very little to cause massive problems.

Although the admins cannot make up the determination on what type of precipitation that this quick hit could bring, crews had been out earlier today pretreating bridges and the temperatures for Friday morning are expected to be borderline. Regardless of what could fall, the admins decided this morning to upgrade the risk to medium and set same risk for the rest of the weekend. The weather forecast for the entire weekend is not favorable and while the temperatures are expected to be above freezing for the majority of the weekend, rain is also in the forecast.

What happens for Saturday and Sunday, however, is none of the concern right now. The main concern is the morning peak Friday. While this morning peak is expected to be lighter than normal with most of the employers and schools on Christmas break, there will be a lot of truckers making the jaunt through here either to avoid the blizzard that is expected well to the north or to get in hot loads at the nearby distribution centers. Why the Friday morning concern? On an normal Friday, the timing of the precipitation is expected to hit during the morning peak. With projected lows expected to be at or below freezing (as this post was being written, the temperature at Alton was at 32), the poor timing of the nasty weather can lead to problems.

It was a night to largely forget last week.
That bad weather led to big problems in the St. Louis area when it hit at a poor time one week, and while this section of 270 didn’t have the major problems compared to the rest of the region, it was very shitty once you got east of 255. While the admins do not have the details on what allegedly happened on the hill east of 255 (one of them that normally goes through at that time of the day didn’t do the usual trip that evening due to a prior commitment), there were some horror stories of delays going over 3 hours. (Rest of the 270/70 Mainline from 255 to Effingham was a nightmare, with at least 4 different locations were blocked at some point Friday evening due to tractor-trailers failing to navigate hills and various minor incidents.) The following day brought a fatality incident on 255 at 270, and there were several incidents on the exit ramps between 367 and Riverview. All that drama came from freezing drizzle and some inversion fog – which emphasizes that it takes very little ice to cause big problems when it happens at the worst time of the day.  (Speaking of that 255/270 interchange, it was the second fatality incident in a month.)

That was a common sight on the ramps – and there is a brand new dent on the cable rails just east of 203 that wasn’t there just a week ago.

That was a total lie. Dunn Road was shit all night long, and there were a few incidents on the hilly mainline in North County the entire weekend.

While the admins hope that tomorrow morning does not bring a repeat performance of the peak period a week ago, keep in mind that last weekend forecast by the majority of the TV meteorologists in the St. Louis area was an horrible bust.

Normally posts regarding freezing fog doesn’t get posted to the site.  It is usually posted on the Facebook page when it is appropriate. The same is true for smaller winter systems.  (The big stuff and any freezing rain threat always get a post.)

Starting with the 2016-2017 Winter season, odds of encountering river fog will be posted on Facebook on Sundays whenever possible.  The reason why river fog becomes a concern this time of the year is pretty obvious -the morning peak has the risk of becoming the horror movie itself when the correct conditions exist.  This usually occurs in December, a month notorious for major incidents and almost every one of them hit first thing in the morning.  In fact almost every December brings some form of an incident when fog and/or drizzle starts to freeze.

The river fog probability risk for 12/5 through 12/10

  • 12/5 – High
  • 12/6 – Medium
  • 12/7 – Low
  • 12/8 – Low
  • 12/9 – High
  • 12/10 – Medium
  • 12/11 – Medium

While temperatures are expected to flirt with the freezing point tomorrow, the biggest concern is late in the week – as low temperatures are expected to bottom out in the teens.  It is still too soon to really address the serious threat for late in the week as the wind forecasts are not out yet but with the recent mild weather the Arctic cold snap will trigger some fog.

It is also to note that 12/8 is a well known date of notoriety and the last time temperatures bottomed out into the teens on that date brought some of the biggest chaos in the Riverbend since 1994.

When it comes to more significant systems this season do not be surprised to see nothing until 8 to 12 hours before the event.  The admins have seen forecasts made with model runs from 4-6 hours out bust, so unless we are certain that a winter system is a threat there will be no posts.

Yesterday the admins posted on Facebook about the biggest concern with the latest system was first thing Sunday morning.  Guess what:

Takes an hour to clear and thankfully it happened Sunday morning. Had this happened 24 hours later an incident similar to this will likely explode on the social media feeds that we follow.