From staff reports
JOPLIN, Mo. —
So far, today’s winter storm has not been a major contributing factor in vehicle slide-offs from area roads and highways.
Spokesmen for two Joplin tow-truck services, Nixon’s and Comer’s, said they have had only a couple of calls from motorists who have called needing help because they have wound up in a ditch.
Mike Middleton, head of snow removal from area highways for the Missouri Department of Transportation in Springfield, said there are 21 snow-removal trucks operating in the Joplin area and that the drivers of those trucks have observed very few slide-offs.
“It’s a very interesting storm. We had snow then sleet, and that has provided some good traction. We have had very few run-offs, which is great,’’ he said.
Road conditions appear to be improving in the Joplin area.
“We have seen some improvement on Range Line Road and Interstate 44 in Joplin in the last 45 minutes or so,’’ Middleton said. “Routes are starting to open. We are gaining some ground. What we don’t know it what this storm still has in store for us.’’
Bob Edwards, a spokesman for MoDOT, said a factor in the low number of slide-offs could be decisions by schools and area colleges not to hold classes today.
“That’s taken a lot of vehicles off the roads today,’’ he said.
Emily Stanley, spokeswoman for the Empire District Electric Co., based in Joplin, said, “We have a few scattered outages around the system. Our crews on the scene of each one working to get customers restored as quickly and safely as possible.’’
Stanley said the system appears to be performing “very well in this inclement weather.’’