The Salem area has received between eight and 11 inches of snow since Sunday, according to Preston Kramer of the Department of Transportation. Combined with low temperatures, the winter storm has caused hazardous road conditions.
“Most of the roadways are still covered, but they are passable. We are still advising people not to travel,” said Kramer Monday.
The extremely low temperatures – as much as 10 below zero -- have rendered the salt and beet juice typically used to melt snow and ice off of roadways useless, according to Kramer.
MoDOT will continue to work 24-hours a day until Tuesday evening grading roads until temperatures improve, Kramer said.
Cold temperatures wreaked havoc on county road crew’s equipment, according to District one commissioner Dennis Purcell.
“The cold temperatures caused the graders computers to not work, and the fuel to gel. We called service out, but on his way here the fuel in his truck gelled, and he got stranded. We’re up and running now,” said Purcell.
District two commissioner Gary Larson said that his crews also faced adverse conditions thanks to the weather, but they have made a grader pass on most roads.
Salem city administrator Clayton Lucas stated that crews were out early Monday morning, and had serviced all roads.
“City crews plowed and salted as much as possible early (Monday) morning. They were sent home after that, because thanks to the cold temperatures, there wasn’t more they could do. The salt will start working when it warms up into the teens and 20s, and the roads will get better,” said Lucas.
Salem Memorial District Hospital has not seen any patients with frostbite or hypothermia, according to Emergency Services director Tabitha Stanfast.
“I recommend that people stay inside,” she said. “Make sure space heaters are kept from curtains and blankets. If you do have to go outside, wear layers, and keep your hands and face covered. At these temperatures frost bite can happen quickly.”
The Dent County Sheriff’s office and the Salem Police Department told The Salem News that no major accidents due to weather were reported.
Dent County schools were not in session Monday and Tuesday and have been cancelled for Wednesday, according to Salem R-80 Superintendent Steve Carvajal.
The decision to cancel impacted all R-80 schools and rural districts, Carvajal said Sunday. Schools have been out of session due to the holiday break. The district has used up all of its built in snow days, according to Carvajal, and is now looking at extending the end of the school year to approximately May 19.
• The National Park Service has rescheduled meetings on the Draft General Management Plan. An additional meeting has been scheduled at the Eminence High School New Gym 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 16. The meeting at the Salem City Hall Auditorium will be held 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 17. The meeting held at the Van Buren Youth and Community Center will be held at 6p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 21, with the wilderness hearing from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The final meeting will be at the Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 22, with the wilderness hearing from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
•The Board of Alderman meeting was cancelled Monday night. The meeting was not rescheduled, according to Lucas, but the agenda added to the next regular meeting 7 p.m. Jan. 21.
• The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) board meeting scheduled for Thursday has been rescheduled because of inclement weather and the possibility of additional winter precipitation Wednesday into Thursday. The meeting is now scheduled for Jan. 16 at the normally scheduled time. Committees will meet at 6 p.m. with the board meeting beginning at 7:30 p.m.