Rush hour was predicted to be a bit colder and nastier than usual Thursday, as the morning drizzle was expected to turn into winter sleet.
Thursday’s high was predicted to be 64 degrees, but by Friday the high temp will be 24. Beginning at about 3 p.m. Thursday, rain was to change to a mix of sleet and light snow, and the fast-dropping temperatures were expected to create slippery conditions on sidewalks, roads and bridges, according to the National Weather Service.
A light glaze of ice was predicted with less than a half-inch of snow in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Transportation warned drivers to be extra careful in approaching ramps, bridges, shady areas and intersections, as they are prone to icing. Black ice freezes clear and may appear invisible, but it is treacherous to walk or drive on, so do not assume that the road is clear.
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IDOT maintains a website for traffic conditions in the metropolitan area online, complete with cameras. As of noon Thursday, all routes remained open and clear save for ongoing construction zones.
The Missouri Department of Transportation held a press conference Thursday asking drivers to be off the roads by 6 p.m. if possible, according to KMOX. MoDOT said they are preparing their trucks and plan to apply rock salt to area highways but that the tricky part will be not spreading it too soon because the rain could wash it away before the temperature drops.
“The real challenge is, with rain first, it washes the chemicals off, so we have to get around to over 6,000 (roads) to treat them,” said Mark Croarkin with MoDOT. “We’re going to be looking for that opportunity before the freezing rain comes in, to get our trucks spreading rock salt as the pavement temperatures drop, but we can’t be everywhere at once.”
MoDOT would prefer everyone to be home by 5 p.m., officials said, but by 6 p.m. at the latest.
Meanwhile, MetroLink trains are not operating between the Forest Park-DeBaliviere and University City-Big Bend Stations at this time. MetroLink Station shuttles are transporting blue line MetroLink riders by bus between the Forest Park-DeBaliviere, Skinker, and University City-Big Bend Stations. Passengers traveling through the area may experience delays of up to 60 minutes, according to MetroLink.
MetroLink trains are delayed up to 30 minutes for some blue line travelers; red line trains are currently on time.
▪ All athletic events at Waterloo schools are canceled, and practices scheduled for the evening will be finished by 4:30 p.m.
▪ The Belle-Scott committee meeting of the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce is canceled.
▪ Lindenwood University is canceling evening classes at its Missouri and Illinois campuses.
▪ Belleville 201 schools have canceled night activities for Thursday.
▪ Carlyle Community Unit School District 1 canceled classes for Friday
Into the weekend, the weather will be colder with cloudy skies, no precipitation and highs in the low-to-mid-20s Friday through Sunday.