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Ozarks Could See First Winter Storm Next Week

Ice

After a couple of brushes with winter weather, the Ozarks faces the possibility of its first major winter storm of the season. KSMU's Benjamin Fry reports.

Those who have been in the Ozarks the past couple of winters know that more often than not, cold air mixed with a strong storm system equals a whole lot of trouble.

That may be the case following a mild warm-up this weekend.

Meteorologist John Gagan with the National Weather Service in Springfield expects things to change Sunday afternoon when a cold front moves through the area.

"Another cold air mass will filter in behind this Sunday night and temperatures will drop well into the '20s by the time we get into daybreak Monday," Gagan said.

Around Sunday night, Gagan says frozen precipitation will arrive, which as of now looks to be in the form of sleet or snow.

But he says it's still too early to gauge just how much we'll see.

"The questions we still have right now is with the quality of the airmass; how deep is the airmass and how much moisture is going to be available for precipitation," Gagan said.

Gagan says that whatever falls, it looks to be widespread throughout southern Missouri.

He says the precipitation should end Monday morning, but temperatures will stay cold before a second wave of winter precipitation arrives Tuesday afternoon.

As the National Weather Service monitors the skies, the Missouri Department of Transportation is prepared for some potentially dangerous driving conditions.

Bob Edwards is the Public Information Officer for MoDOT.

He says on Sunday night road crews will be standing by, ready to tackle slick roads.

"All the computerized salt spreaders have been adjusted and calibrated; all of our salt facilities are full; we replenished over the summer as we normally do," Edwards said.

Though road crews will be out and about, Edwards says drivers should still be prepared for hazardous conditions.

"The plows can't be everywhere at once. Good rule of thumb is if it's snowing or sleeting or the roads are starting to get slick, it's always a good idea to check the road conditions before you travel," Edwards said.

Edwards also recommends giving yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination.

Before the wintry mix arrives, however, the Ozarks is expected to see a mostly sunny weekend with highs in the mid '50s.

For KSMU news, I'm Benjamin Fry.