Less snow expected but colder temperatures

For the second consecutive weekend, a potent winter weather system is forecast to hit Northeast Missouri. The next storm should bring less snow than last weekend, but colder temperatures and more wind, according to Patrick Walsh, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

"We're looking for 4-6 inches in the Hannibal area," he said. "We should also get some of the coldest temperatures we have seen so far this season Saturday night into Sunday morning and also Monday morning."

Both mornings the temperature is forecast to bottom out at 10 degrees. Temperatures were initially predicted to fall below zero, but because a high-pressure system is moving differently than expected, it should not be quite as cold.

"It will not be as brutally cold, but it is still going to be cold," Walsh said.

Wind chills Sunday and Monday mornings will make it feel like zero.

"It will be windy," Walsh said. "We got very little wind with the last storm. But as the (next) storm is ramping up and getting out of the area, we could see gusts up to 30 mph, so we could get some blowing snow as well."

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is keeping close tabs on what to expect from the next storm. "The storm will be very different than the last one," said Marisa Ellison of MoDOT. "Even though the amount is not expected to be as great, winds plus dry snow make for a lot of drifting, which means even when we plow it off the road there is a chance it will be blown right back on. When temperatures get as cold as predicted, chemicals and salt are not effective."

Walsh said that while snow could begin early Friday afternoon, the heaviest precipitation will occur after sunset.

"It will start off light," he said. "Probably between 5 and 6 o'clock is when you will start to get moderate snow."

As the snow's intensity increases driving conditions will worsen.

"Based on the forecast, we anticipate Friday night into Saturday morning to be the least desirable times to drive. Hopefully, Northeast Missourians will plan accordingly," Ellison said.

This weekend's storm should not bring freezing rain or sleet to the Hannibal area.

"At this point your area seems to be far enough north where it should be in all-snow event," Walsh said. "The rain-snow line is south of you, but not very far, so that is something that could change."

Whatever the storm has in store for Northeast Missouri, MoDOT will be ready, Ellison said.

"We have been cleaning and working on equipment in preparation for the next round," she said.

danny.henley@courierpost.com