Howell County News/ Amanda Mendez

The Groundhog Saw His Shadow

Severe Winter Weather Impacted Travel, Services
Just days after the folklore holiday said to predict the remaining length of winter, severe weather showed up in a big way in Howell County. Precipitation combined with the as-yet-ongoing deep freeze coated the roadways in ice, and the persistently frigid conditions kept most county and state roads covered throughout the week. By Friday, a brief day of sunshine helped to clear the roads, but significant snowfall over the weekend made travel treacherous once again.
Luckily, motorists seemed to heed warnings from MODOT and local agencies by staying off the roads during the most dangerous driving conditions. Missouri State Highway Patrol did not report a noticeable increase in motor vehicle accidents, and Willow Springs Fire Department’s Assistant Chief Vance Farmer confirmed that his crew did not have to respond to crashes last week due to icy roads. 
In Willow Springs, many retail businesses and even a couple restaurants closed on Wednesday and Thursday due to the conditions. The municipal government grappled with the weather event.
“Through the course of this past week, the City has been working to clear streets from last week's weather event. However, the frigid temperatures hindered the road salt from melting the ice,” wrote City Administrator Beverly Hicks in an email, “Road salt typically does not work in sustaining temperatures below 25 degrees.”
In addition to road safety, there were some water supply issues in Willow too.
“Already this week, we have had a few water meters freeze and a couple of water main leaks...with these low temperatures, we anticipate more issues as these,” Hicks continued, “This would be a time that if you do not have to be out, please stay indoors and keep your water running to avoid frozen pipes. Always remember to check on your neighbors and provide any assistance you can. And of course, if you need assistance from City utilities call 417-469-2107 or the Police Department at 417-469-3158.  If after regular business hours, please call 911.”
To the south, road conditions in West Plains prevented sanitation services from running as usual, and on February 11 a vehicle crashed into a power pole, causing a power outage to a large number of utility customers. The Southern Hills Shopping Center and Walmart were included in the outage as well. 
The City of West Plains also issued a peak alert, lasting from 4 a.m. Saturday, February 13 through 4 a.m. Tuesday, February 16, asking utility customers to restrict electricity usage while the temperatures dropped into the negative degrees. 
Warmer weather is expected by the end of this week. Hopefully, Spring will not be far behind.

Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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