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Accumulating snow is in the forecast...maybe

These southeast Missouri cattle don't look too upset by the snow, but Farmington residents may not be too happy if a snowstorm moves through the area Friday and Saturday as it was predicted to by the National Weather Service on press day. Of course, should anyone hoping for snow be disappointed if it doesn't appear, the Farmington Press suggests they remain contented — like the cows.

As of press time Wednesday, it appeared that a developing snowstorm coming up from the south might bring a substantial snowfall Friday and Saturday to the Parkland.

Of course, because Farmington and its surrounding areas are often right on the freeze line, a potential snow can turn into a rain event or nothing at all.

According to the National Weather Service, the most significant winter weather expected from the storm will occur Friday through Saturday night. Precipitation will likely spread into central and southeast Missouri on Friday afternoon ahead of a southern stream shortwave over the southern Plains. The precipitation will ramp up Friday night and expand northward and eastward into Illinois and southeast Missouri by Saturday afternoon.

There may be some light lingering precipitation Saturday evening across region, but the precipitation should rapidly taper off across our area.

It appears that precipitation will be mainly snow with evaporative cooling causing temperatures to lower Friday afternoon and evening as the low-mid levels saturate.

NWS said it can't rule out a period of sleet initially across southeast Missouri tomorrow afternoon. At this time it appears that southeast Missouri and southwest Illinois are likely to see the greater snow accumulation amounts. It is too early to pin down exact snow amounts this far out, however, so this is definitely a "low confidence" forecast. That being said, the trend is leaning toward accumulating snow falling across much of our area Friday night and Saturday which would definitely impact travel for the weekend.

Here's some important tips to keep in mind:

Be prepared for a winter storm:

Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. A winter storm can:

Last a few hours or several days;

Knock out heat, power, and communication services; and

Place older adults, young children, and sick individuals at greater risk.

If you are under a Winter Storm Warning, find shelter right away:

Stay off roads.

Stay indoors and dress warmly.

Prepare for power outages.

Use generators outside only and away from windows.

Listen for emergency information and alerts.

Look for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.

Check on neighbors.

How to Stay Safe When a Winter Storm Threatens:

Prepare NOW

Know your area’s risk for winter storms. Extreme winter weather can leave communities without utilities or other services for long periods of time.

Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.

Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.

Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.

Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep the gas tank full.

Learn the signs of, and basic treatments for, frostbite and hypothermia.

Survive DURING

Stay off roads if at all possible. If trapped in your car, then stay inside.

Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.

Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.

Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and begin treatment right away.

Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.

RECOGNIZE AND RESPOND

Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers, and toes.

Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin

Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.

Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.

Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, or drowsiness

Actions: Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.

For the latest NWS updates, watches and warnings, go to the Daily Journal website at www.dailyjournalonline.com.

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Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or kjenkins@farmingtonpressonline.com

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