Plow drivers, first responders busy as freezing rain causes chaos on St. Louis roadways

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 7:29 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Plow drivers and first responders across the St. Louis region have been working around the clock since Sunday night after freezing rain caused havoc for unsuspecting drivers.

Monday morning, plow drivers with American Snow and Ice had been on the roads for more than 18 hours, salting and spreading liquid treatment in an attempt to melt some of the snow pack and ice during the day time.

“The storm is not over in the sense that we’re still going to be dealing with ice,” said Christopher Richard with American Snow and Ice. “We melted off a lot of sleet and snow pack, things are very wet and as things are melting it’s diluting our salt again, so I like to call it our ice patrol. "

Crews with American Snow and Ice primarily focus on private parking lots and sidewalks for large corporations and warehouses across St. Charles and St. Louis Counties. Drivers hit the road around 2 p.m. on Sunday, he said, saving them time and keeping customers happy.

“Had they gone out later in the day, then you’ve got guys stuck in the traffic behind all those accidents and they’re unable to get to their zones,” he said.

Central County Fire and Rescue in St. Charles County said it responded to dozens of calls for car accidents on both the interstate and side roads, with most crashes caused by drivers following too closely behind other cars on the road.

“Leave plenty of time between you and the car ahead of you so that you have time to react,” said Deputy Chief Jason Meinershagen. “Just because you’re confident in your driving ability doesn’t mean the person in front of you is, so leave plenty of room between you and vehicles around you.”

Meinershagen said crashes have ranged from cars sliding off of the roadway to those flipping on their side, some of which have sent people to the hospital with serious injuries.

“We expect calls to pick back up once the sun goes down, especially with these below-freezing temperatures,” he said. “So if you’re out, budget for more time, take it slow and move over if you see first responders working.”

While many students enjoyed a snow day and some adults worked from home, some small business owners decided to open up shop despite the dicey roadways Monday morning.

“I hit the road around 9 a.m. today and I saw a couple cars on the side of the road but the roads weren’t too terrible at that point,” said Joe Aiello, owner of Aiello’s Cigar Bar in Cottleville. “When we came in it (the parking lot) was pretty snow-covered along with the ice underneath, so we decided to salt it.”

The potential for refreezing remains on Monday night and drivers are urged to exercise extreme caution while on the roadways.