When the snow stopped falling Friday afternoon, road-clearing crews across the Joplin area started getting an upper hand on the weather.
But that could be short lived. More flurries and light freezing drizzle are forecast for tonight through Sunday morning.
Whether it snows or not, one thing that will remain constant: bone-chilling cold.
“Really cold temperatures will persist through next week,’’ said Andy Foster, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service forecast office in Springfield. “We’re talking single digits to near zero tomorrow (Saturday) morning. The wind-chill could make it feel like it’s 10 below.
“It will stay below freezing — even in the daytime — through next Wednesday.’’
It will stay that cold for that long because of a reinforcing shot of cold air on Monday, which will put the mercury back near zero Monday night.
Joplin, which logged about 2 inches or so of snow, dodged the worst of this snowstorm, Foster said.
“Joplin was on the northern edge of this tight band of snow. About 7 inches fell in Springfield, and 10 inches fell near Cassville and Branson,’’ he said.
While state and local crews were busy clearing streets and highways, local firefighters were busy battling blazes brought on by the cold.
Joplin firefighters responded to a house fire at 2:58 a.m. Friday at 436 N. Main St. that was caused by the use of electrical space heaters. A Joplin Fire Department spokesman said the heaters overpowered old wiring in the house.
At Pittsburg, Kan., a man died in a house fire about 1:30 a.m. Friday in the 1100 block of East Seventh Street. Officials could not confirm Friday afternoon whether the cold contributed to the fire.
In Joplin, 13 city trucks outfitted with snowplows were removing snow from the city’s priority routes.
Nick Heatherly, public works director, on Friday afternoon, said, “We’re doing pretty good overall. Now that the snow has stopped falling, we’re getting ahead of the game. We’re putting the final touches on some routes, but we’ll have a crew on all night before the next storm.’’
Mike Middleton, with the Missouri Department of Transportation, said highways in the immediate Joplin area were almost clear, but that problems remained in Neosho and Anderson, and points east.
“If you were to draw a line from Anderson through Monett to Republic, that would be where the heaviest snow has fallen — maybe 9 to 10 inches,’’ he said. “Right now, Cassville and Monett are two of the worst areas.’’
About 300 snowplows are active in the 21 counties served by MoDOT’s regional office in Springfield. About 21 of those snowplows are based in Joplin.
“We’ll keep our trucks running day and night to keep ahead of this snow,’’ he said. “But we’ll probably start staffing down sometime tomorrow (Saturday).’’
Each truck carries about 12 tons of salt and sand. Each ton costs about $60.
At Neosho, Mike Hightower, director of public works, said, “Streets are passable, but drivers need to be extra careful.’’
In both Neosho and Joplin, city officials said trash service was suspended on Friday because of icy roads. The disposal companies hope to pick up the garbage on Monday, weather permitting.