Battling ice storm takes a lot of salt
Up-to-the-minute coverage of ice storm warning for the region:
Noon: Some St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up activities will continue as planned Saturday. The Cardinals Nation restaurant is open until midnight, the museum is open until 6 p.m. and Busch Stadium tours are being offered until 3 p.m. Events will continue as planned on Sunday and Monday.
10:30 a.m.: The Illinois Department of Transportation issued an updated road conditions map. The majority of roads in the metro-east were marked clear of ice. Central Illinois roads, however, were still at least partially covered with patches of ice.
A third round of freezing rain is expected to arrive Sunday morning, and more could come periodically throughout the day Saturday. Untreated surfaces such as sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and unsalted roads were expected to be the most dangerous, according to the National Weather Service.
10:05 a.m.: The Missouri Department of Transportation issued another travel advisory effective through Sunday because of “ongoing significant amounts of freezing rain, sleet and ice.”
Another wave of ice, up to half-an-inch, is expected to hit Sunday morning. Missouri State Maintenance Engineer Becky Allmeroth said “reduced traffic on the roads in the past 24 hours has provided room for crews to work.” Crews will continue their efforts to keep the roads as clear as possible Saturday and into Sunday. Salt will have to be applied multiple times because of the different waves of freezing rain.
Allmeroth cautioned students returning to their universities to keep an eye on the weather and to plan ahead.
9:15 a.m.: St. Clair Square mall in Fairview Heights announced it will be open for regular hours from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Individual stores may vary. For more information, visit the mall’s website.
9 a.m.: Illinois State Police Trooper Calvin Dye, Jr. said travelers are still “heeding the warning to stay inside.” He said there were no major crashes yet Saturday morning.
Police can issue a $120 ticket to anyone driving too fast for conditions, Dye said.
A weather-related car crash in Missouri killed one woman on Friday morning. Tiffany N. Jackson, 33, Crystal City, was driving on Interstate 55 south of Route 67 when she lost control of her vehicle on an icy overapass and drove off the right side of the roadway, striking several trees, according to Missouri State Highway Patrol. Police say she was driving too fast for conditions and not wearing a seat-belt. Jackson was pronounced dead at the scene.
8:35 a.m.: The St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency says if temperatures stay above freezing, driving conditions should not get any worse at least during the day.
“Keep in mind all it takes is for it (freezing rain) to fall and we will have ice forming,” the agency said in a post on social media. “If you go out today continue to use caution.”
7:28 a.m.: The Illinois Department of Transportation issued an updated road conditions map, urging drivers to slow down if they have to travel at all in the affected area.
7:08 a.m.: Southwestern Electric, an energy cooperative serving several counties in southwestern Illinois, reported only about 25 outages in its service area because of ice on electric lines, according to Chief Operating Officer Bobby Williams. He said a lack of strong winds helped avoid more outages. The cooperative recruited crews from neighboring states earlier in the week to lend an extra hand in anticipation of an icy weekend.
“At this point, we’re hoping the storm spares us, but if the weather turns, we’re ready to respond,” Williams said.
7 a.m.: Illinois Department of Transportation crews were out spreading salt before 6 a.m. Saturday, with rested crews coming in at 7 a.m. The department urged motorists to slow down and use caution.
The Missouri Department of Transportation said roads were “mainly wet” Saturday morning, and urged motorists to drive slowly and give other drivers plenty of room.
Grocery store chain Schnucks said it planned to reopen its stores 6 a.m. Saturday, and Dierbergs said it would also reopen its stores Saturday.
Fewer than 200 power outages were reported in the area, with most of the outages centered in Monroe County near Waterloo, according to Ameren Illinois. About 13 homes were without power in the area immediately west of Belleville.
Several area events scheduled for Saturday were canceled. An event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1917 East St. Louis race riot was postponed, as was the first day of the St. Louis Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up. The team planned to hold Sunday and Monday events as previously scheduled. The Cardinals said they would continue to monitor the weather. The 59th Annual St. Louis Baseball Writers Dinner is still on for 6:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Louis Union Station Hotel.
6:50 a.m.: Freezing rain was expected to end for a little while Saturday morning, though more was likely Saturday night through Sunday morning. Officials warned metro-east residents to take their time when traveling.
Patches of snow and ice covered a majority of metro-east roads as of 5 a.m Saturday morning.
Some melting could occur Saturday, with daytime ice accumulations expected at less than 0.1 inch, according to the National Weather Service. Widespread icing is expected mainly on elevated surfaces and tree limbs, where more than half-an-inch of ice could possibly accumulate. An ice storm warning remained in effect until noon Sunday.
MetroLink, MetroBus and Metro-Call-A-Ride were all operating normally and without significant delays Saturday morning.