Storm dumps up to 15 inches of snow in parts of St. Louis area

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by KMOV.com Staff | @KMOV

KMOV.com

Posted on January 5, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 6 at 1:53 PM

(KMOV.com) – Heavy snow combined with strong winds and bitter cold created a dangerous winter mix Sunday over much of the News 4 viewing area on Sunday, prompting everything from churches to tourist attractions and even the St. Louis region’s sole ski resort to shut down amid warnings that only those who absolutely need to venture out should do so.

The snowfall picked up just after 6 a.m. and St. Louis had seen about 10.6 inches by 4 p.m. 

The heaviest snowfall totals were reported on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. Here's a partial list of snowfall totals:

Illinois
Mascoutah - 15 inches
Belleville - 14 inches
Wood River - 14 inches
Collinsville - 12.5 inches
Granite City 

Missouri
Florissant - 12 inches
Fenton - 10 inches
Eureka - 9.5 inches
Ballwin - 9 inches
St. Peters - 9.5 inches
Weldon Spring - 9.5 inches
Frontenac - 8.5 inches

The St. Louis-area had received 12 inches or more of snow in a 24-hour period only 10 previous times since record-keeping began in the late 19th century.

Click here to view photos of the snow from around the St. Louis area

The Missouri Department of Transportation reported most major roadways were covered and clearing them was a challenge for two reasons: The wind was blowing cleared snow back onto the pavement, and it was so cold the salt used to melt ice and snow wasn’t very effective.

AAA reported it had 250 calls for help since 12 a.m. Monday. Forty percent of those calls involved cars being stuck.

MoDOT encouraged people to stay in unless absolutely necessary. The conditions were so bad they were a danger even to MoDOT workers driving the plows and trucks, spokeswoman Marie Elliott said.

“If it gets to the point where it’s no longer safe, we will consider suspending operations,” she said.

St. Louis was at a virtual standstill on Sunday, with the St. Louis Zoo, the Arch Grounds, Botanical Gardens, the Art Museum, Union Station, The Fox Theatre and Wehrenberg Theatres closing along with multiple churches. Even Hidden Valley Ski Resort, the region’s only ski area, shut down.

Chesterfield Mall, South County Mall, West County Mall, Mid Rivers Mall, St. Clair Square and Alton Square malls were also closed. 

Several businesses and area municipalities, including St. Louis city and county, announced they would be closed Monday as well.

Click here for a complete list of St. Louis area business closings.

Lambert Airport at one point reported more than 200 cancellations. Track your flight here. 

The homeless were a special concern in such cold temperatures. A special shelter set up by the city of St. Louis at a recreation center drew 124 homeless by Sunday morning, and will remain open through the cold snap, said William Siedhoff, director of the city’s Human Services.

Sunday started with temperatures in the 20s and 30s dropped throughout the day, even as the wind picked up, reaching gusts of 25 mph and more. Temperatures were expected to drop significantly Sunday night, with the numbers dropping to 0 by 12 a.m. Monday.

Monday’s high is forecasted to be below zero, with wind chills as low as between -20 and -35 degrees.

The Missouri Department of Transportation says those extreme temperatures are going to make the local roads dicey through at least Tuesday.

News 4 will continue to update conditions as they change.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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