ST. LOUIS (AP) — A dangerous mix of snow, ice and sleet hammered southern Missouri for a second straight day on Friday, causing numerous accidents, including a wreck that killed a small-town mayor.
Missouri was among many states under winter storm and ice warnings, the result of a system that dumped up to 2 feet of snow in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin and caused major ice concerns in the South.
The Show-Me State was getting the worst of both, at least along a corridor south of Interstate 44. There were reports of sleet a quarter-inch thick in the Cape Girardeau area, with snow on top of it. Some areas had up to 10 inches of snow on the ground by Friday morning, with more on the way. Making matters worse was the bitter cold, with wind chills dipping to near zero.
Granby Mayor Ronald Arnall, 64, died Thursday afternoon when his truck ran off Highway 39 and struck a tree. Arnall was a longtime city councilman who was elected mayor of Granby, a community of 2,100 residents in far southwest Missouri, in April, city clerk Paula Carsel said.
“He grew up here and he cared about Granby,” Carsel said. “It’s kind of a shock.”
Capt. Tim Hull of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the accident was the only one involving a fatality, but he cited numerous wrecks south of St. Louis and across the southern tier of the state, most of them cars and trucks sliding off the roadway.
“There’s just not much traction you can get on ice,” Hull said. “When you’ve got a little bit of sleet mixed in, it’s hard to stop and get control.”
In suburban St. Louis, a car slid down an icy hill and past a crossing gate, striking a MetroLink light rail train filled with morning commuters. Eight passengers were taken to hospitals for treatment of what appeared to be minor injuries, St. Louis County Police said. The car driver was not hurt.
National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Shanklin in Paducah, Ky., said the Bootheel region in far southeast Missouri was getting the worst of the ice. Some areas of the Bootheel had ice nearly a quarter-inch thick, causing tree limbs to snap and power lines to sag. Few outages were reported by Friday morning but with more ice possible, Shanklin said there was concern that power lines could start to break.
The utility company Ameren Missouri sent 500 workers to southeast Missouri in anticipation of storm problems. By late-afternoon Friday, Ameren reported fewer than 1,000 outages, mostly in the Bootheel region.
Shanklin said there were reports of 10 inches of snow by Friday morning in parts of Perry and Bollinger counties in southeast Missouri. Areas closer to Springfield in the southwest part of the states had 4-6 inches of snow.
Cape Girardeau was expected to see an additional 6 inches of snow on Friday; snowfall projections were lower to the west, but Springfield was expected to see another inch or two.
Every major highway and interstate in southern Missouri was covered or partly covered with snow or other precipitation, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Shanklin said that after a brief reprieve, more wintery precipitation should start to fall across much of the same region Saturday night through Sunday — maybe even more ice in the southeast corner of Missouri.
“The next system doesn’t have the amount of precipitation as this system — that’s one silver lining,” Shanklin said. “But there will be enough to cause more problems.”
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