ST. LOUIS (AP) — Message to Missourians: Don’t put those winter coats in storage just yet.
Parts of the state could see a 50-degree temperature drop in less than a 24-hour period. Worse yet, a few places will likely see an inch or two of snow by midday Wednesday.
High temperatures in much of the state were expected to reach well into the 70s on Tuesday to near 80 in some places. That will be replaced by windy conditions and temperatures in the low 30s by Wednesday morning.
National Weather Service meteorologist Ben Miller said the reason is simple: A strong warm front is being pushed out by a strong cold front.
The good news is that the ground is so warm that any snow shouldn’t cause roads to get too slick. The cold front is also expected to be short-lived, with temperatures rebounding to the 50s on Thursday.
“It’s really going to be a one-day deal,” Miller said.
The high reading at Lambert Airport in St. Louis on Monday was 80 degrees 6 degrees short of the record for the date. The balmy weather brought out joggers, bikers and others basking in warmth and sunshine that has been too rare in an exceptionally cold and snowy winter.
The Missouri Climate Center at the University of Missouri in Columbia reported that the meteorological winter season (December through February) was the coldest in Missouri in 35 years and the ninth-coldest on record. St. Louis had more than 27 inches of snow for the three-month period, nearly 10 inches more than in a typical winter.
As for the next round of snow on Wednesday, it will be mostly confined to northern Missouri. Only flurries are expected in the St. Louis area. Most places south of Interstate 70 should miss any snow, with temperatures dipping only to the low 40s on Wednesday.
Miller said the huge variance in temperature is rare, even for unpredictable March.
“It’s not often you see a 40- or 50-degree drop in a day,” he said.
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