Weather service warns of freezing drizzle Friday afternoon through early Saturday

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Freezing drizzle was expected to begin icing streets and sidewalks in Columbia and other parts of central, east-central and eastern Missouri Friday afternoon, according to a winter weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service.

The drizzle was expected to begin around 1 p.m. Friday afternoon and continue through 1 a.m. Saturday, the weather service said. A light glazing of ice was expected to occur on untreated roads, parking lots and sidewalks.

The weather service said the freezing drizzle was expected to be mixed with light snow or flurries in parts of northeast Missouri. It warned motorists to be prepared for slippery roads.

The forecast called for as little as one- to three-hundredths of an inch of ice. "However, recent events have shown that even 1-3 hundredths of freezing drizzle on untreated surfaces can be a real mess," a forecast discussion written Friday morning by meteorologist Jon Carney of the National Weather Service in St. Louis said.

Charley Kelly, another weather service meteorologist in St. Louis, predicted the ice would be "impactful for all of Columbia." He especially warned of the possibility of black ice forming on streets and highways.

"I'd advise people to be mindful with their travel plans," Kelly said.

Those seeking information about road conditions can dial 511.

Barry Dalton, spokesman for the Columbia Public Works Department, said city crews are monitoring pavement and air temperatures and deciding what the best course of action will be. They are actively planning, but he said just before 10:30 a.m. Friday that it was too early to know what the best plan would be. Options include applying salt, which becomes less effective as temperatures drop, or brine juice.

Dalton said his best advice is to avoid driving unless it's absolutely necessary. If you must drive, be cautious and consider putting chains on tires. Public transportation is also an option.

Many Columbia streets still have salt on them from earlier in the week, Dalton said, but the department planned to have trucks prepped and ready to salt streets again by noon. Early plans also called for applying brine solution on designated snow routes, turns and hills.

Crews were expected to be on call throughout the day and night.

It was just more than a year ago — Dec. 16, 2016, to be exact — that a light sheen of ice wreaked havoc in Columbia, Boone County and much of the state. The ice caused more than 400 vehicle accidents in the county and left some children stranded in their schools until after midnight.

Missourian reporters Maria Callejon Ferrer and Jenna Kieser contributed to this report.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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