(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A winter storm expected to dump several inches of snow is already covering parts of Northwest Missouri with freezing rain.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for much of the area. The warning goes into effect Friday at 6:00 p.m. and will last through 6 p.m. Saturday.
The storm system is expected to bring rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, high winds and potential for downed powerline and whiteout conditions.
A wintry mix is falling now and ice may build up before snow moves in later this evening. Snow is expected to be heavy at times with rates reaching 1 inch per hour with total accumulations up to 3-6 inches possible, with the heaviest band expected along the Interstate 35 corridor.
With the rapid rate of the snowfall, combined with winds, white out conditions are likely, MoDOT warns drivers to plan accordingly and if at all possible, avoid traveling during the height of the storm. Leave early and then stay in until the storm subsides and plow operators have an opportunity to clear roadways.
With the expected rate of snow fall, and the anticipated white out conditions, snow plows will not be able to keep up with the snow as it is falling and it will take some time after the snow stops in order to get roads to near-normal conditions.
If you absolutely must travel, make sure to have a full tank of gas before heading out. If you encounter car troubles or are involved in a crash, please remain in your vehicle with your seatbelt on. Slow down, leave plenty of follow room between you and other vehicles, and plan for extra travel time. As always, keep your seatbelt on and your phone off.
Stay informed about Missouri road conditions by using MoDOT's Traveler Information Map, available online at www.modot.org, or through MoDOT's smartphone app, available for iPhone and Android mobile devices.