A strong winter storm sweeping across the southwestern U.S. will move into the Joplin region Tuesday night with heavy, wet snow in amounts ranging from 2 to 4 inches north of Interstate 44 in Missouri and heavier amounts south of the interstate.
The National Weather Service office in Springfield on Monday issued a winter storm warning for Newton County and counties along and south of Interstate 44 lasting from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 9 a.m. Wednesday, calling for heavy snowfall and accumulations of between 5 and 10 inches and heavier amounts up to 12 inches in some localized spots.
The weather service also issued a winter weather advisory for Southeast Kansas, Jasper County and counties north of I-44 lasting from 6 p.m. Tuesday to 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Kelsey Angle, meteorologist at the weather service’s Springfield office, said forecasters’ confidence is high that a short period of rain will change over to snow Tuesday immediately after 5 p.m. in the Joplin area.
Angle said the evening commute could be wet Tuesday as the first raindrops move into the Joplin area around 4 p.m. Tuesday, and the morning commute Wednesday will definitely be a challenge.
“I would say the time to prepare for this winter storm is dwindling,” Angle said. “There may be some time on Tuesday morning, but as we go deeper into the day we’ll start to see precipitation from the southwest track northeast into the area, and tomorrow night widespread snowfall will occur, and it will occur through the overnight hours until the snow starts to taper from west to east across the area late Wednesday morning into Wednesday afternoon. Travel will certainly be tricky overnight Wednesday and for the morning rush-hour drive.”
Angle said snowfall amounts in Newton, McDonald, Barry and other counties south of I-44, and back west into northeastern Oklahoma, could range from 6 inches to over 10 inches in some areas.
Angle said this storm will include more snow, but it won’t be as cold as the winter storm that hit the area around Christmas 2022.
The Missouri Department of Transportation sent out an advisory on Monday urging drivers to be aware of changing road conditions both where they are and where they plan to be.
“Crews will be out Tuesday night as the temperatures drop and conditions change from rain to snow,” said Becky Allmeroth, MoDOT’s chief safety and operations officer. “We are expecting a very heavy, wet snow, which is great for making snowmen but can make roads very difficult to drive on. If you must be out, adjust your speed to the road conditions.”
Angle said this storm will produce heavier and wetter snow than previous storms, so people should take it easy when shoveling after the storm.
“Make sure you pace yourself, take frequent breaks and don’t overdo it,” Angle said. “This snow will be heavier than some recent snows we’ve had, and oftentimes hospitals will see an increase in emergency room visits due to the stress caused from shoveling and heart conditions.”
MoDOT says if people need to travel, they should make sure they have a full tank of gas, blankets, gloves and provisions like water and snacks in case of an emergency.
Other MoDOT advice:
• Keep your cellphone charged, but don’t use it while driving.
• If your vehicle should slide off the road or be involved in a crash, stay inside the vehicle with the seat belt buckled until help arrives.
• Give snowplows room to work on the road. Do not tailgate or try to pass. Snowplow operators are reacting to the road ahead of them with a limited field of vision. You may see them, but they may not see you.
• Missouri road conditions are available 24/7 on the Traveler Information Map at www.modot.org, or through MoDOT’s smartphone app. You can also find road conditions and warnings by following MoDOT on Facebook and Twitter or by calling 888-275-6636 to speak with a customer service representative.