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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: The warmest day of the week comes and goes. Strong cold front moves through Wednesday morning. Temperatures tomorrow will be in the 30s in the morning dropping into the 20s during the day. Some light Winter mix or snow well south of St. Louis early Wednesday. Turning much colder Thursday with single digit morning lows and Wind Chills below 0.

Morning Drive: 27.  Mostly clear, cold and dry. Wind: S 5-10 mph

Tuesday: High 51. Mostly sunny and warmer. Wind: S 10 mph

Wednesday: 20s. Early morning 30s quickly fall to 20s and hover in the 20s during the day. Breezy and cold, mostly cloudy with a chance of a winter mix south of St. Louis.

Thursday: Low 7/High 20.  Partly cloudy. 

Friday: Low 7/High 27. Partly cloudy. 

Saturday: Low 16/High 38.  Partly cloudy.  

Sunday: Low 18/High 35.  Partly cloudy.

Monday: Low 23/High 42. Partly cloudy.

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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