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MoDOT short hundreds of drivers ahead of first winter storm of the season

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ST. LOUIS ( -- Dozens of MoDOT trucks will sit empty as the first major winter snow storm makes its way to the St. Louis area.

MoDOT officials said they are short hundreds of drivers statewide and are calling in help from neighboring districts.

"It's going to take us longer than we would like and many of our citizens are used to, to clear the roads," said Tom Blair, a district engineer for MoDOT.

Blair said many of the new drivers have never experienced a snow storm and will be riding along with other drivers. Additionally, COVID-19 and other sicknesses have reduced numbers.

Weather Discussion: We'll have passing clouds but will be mainly dry today. Temperatures will have a bite to them, especially as you head out early with readings in the teens and lower 20s. This afternoon we'll reach 32° before another cold night. A few flurries are possible late this evening and early tomorrow. However, I'm not expecting accumulations or travel impacts. We'll start to see the snow melting tomorrow as highs climb to the upper 30s. Don't forget, Monday marks the first Full Moon of 2022. A few clouds will be present when it peaks just before 6 pm. Briefly, we will warm up Tuesday before another blast of arctic air Wednesday through Friday. 

Sunday: High 32. Mostly sunny.  There is a 20% chance of light snow Sunday night.  

Monday (MLK Day): Low 28/High 37. Partly cloudy and still cold. May see some snow melt

Tuesday: Low 27/High 48. Partly cloudy and a little warmer

Wednesday:  Low 31/High 35.  Partly cloudy.

Thursday: Low 10/High 22.  Partly cloudy.  

Friday: Low 12/High 31. Mostly sunny.

Saturday: Low 19/High 37.  Mostly cloudy. 20% chance of light precipitation.

On Thursday, MoDOT trucks were seen on interstates laying down a liquid brine ahead of the storm. However, with rain now in the forecast, officials said it won't have much of an effect.

"The plan was it wasn't supposed to come in as rain like it is tonight," District Maintenance Engineer Bob Becker said. "No, if we had known that we wouldn't have started brining ahead of time. We had plans to continue that today also and then when the forecast changed we opted not to and just be ready for when that storm happens tonight."

"It's going to take us longer than we would like and many of our citizens are used to, to clear the roads," said Tom Blair, a district engineer for MoDOT.

Schnarr's Hardware in Ladue is stocked up on ice melt, shovels and sleds. Manager Melissa Blair said the flow of customers looking for snow supplies is slow, but is likely to pick up.

"At first we see a lot of the smaller shakers sell and if we actually get as much winter weather as predicted, the big bags will start flying off the shelves the day of the weather," she said.

MoDOT crews expect road conditions to deteriorate between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., as the rain transitions to snow from north to south. 

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