WINTER STORM HITS: Officials Urge “Stay Home”
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – As they monitor the strong winds, drifting snow and bitterly cold temperatures that moved into the area on Sunday, St. Louis City and County officials are urging residents to stay home, if at all possible.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says that even though the snow has stopped, the danger isn’t over, “Given the forecast we expect this to be a three-day event.”
Slay says on this first day of the event the goal for street crews was keeping roads passable, “Especially for police, fire and Metro buses. Once the storm passes we will put down chemicals and will focus on improving driving conditions generally”
City Streets Director Todd Waltermann was even more blunt at the Sunday news conference, “The streets are horrible now.” Waltermann said that even after more plows were put on duty Sunday evening, the streets wouldn’t be clear enough Monday to carry the normal rush-hour load, “I would be hopeful that through the day Monday we would get ’em cleaned up for a Tuesday morning rush. I can’t commit yet…how we’ll be doing Monday afternoon yet.”
Officials are urging people to stay home, and park off the streets if possible. Asked if people should plan on taking Monday off, MoDOT Area Engineer Deanna Venker said, “If you do not have to be out on the road tomorrow please do stay home. Yes, that is our message.”
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley sums it up this way, “There’s no reason for anyone to lose their lives in this extreme weather.”
Except for essential personnel, St. Louis City and County governments will be closed Monday, including the courts.
The city and county both have warming centers open. The city’s is at 12th and Park, St. Louis County is operating St. Vincent’s in Pagedale and the Affton Community Center. Dooley says nurses will be on hand at the county centers to provide medical care. The county centers will be open for 24-hours, through Wednesday morning.
The St. Louis city police department is helping look for homeless who may be stranded outside. Slay says they found 13 Saturday night, ten of whom accepted offers of help.
The city has also reverse 9-1-1 called 3,500 homebound people. Slay says they made contact with all but 85 and police and fire personnel will be visiting those individuals to see if they need help.
County Police Lt. Col. John Belmar says with this life-threatening weather gripping the region, everyone has a job to do, “Keep a lookout for your neighbors over the next two days, when it gets really cold because that’s going to be the important aspect of this.”
On Sunday, Lambert Airport reported that one runway was open, but over 200 flights were canceled. You are encouraged to contact your airline to check on your flight’s status. Metro says Metrolink is running on time but some buses are running late. For details go to metrostlouis.org
St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson is urging people to be careful with supplemental heating units. He says if you use space heaters, stay in the room with them. One home at Virginia and Loughborough was heavily damaged overnight, when an unattended space heater ignited some bedding.
The following are important numbers for St. Louis City and County residents.