By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Get ready for Round 2.
After fighting through a snowstorm that dumped nearly 7 inches of wintry precipitation last week, the area is bracing for another battle with Mother Nature that, according to forecasts, could be just as bad.
Julie Phillipson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis, said Northeast Missouri and West-Central Illinois could be in the heart of this storm that is expected to begin tonight and increase in intensity on Tuesday.
"The greatest snow totals will start in central Missouri and wrap their way up to Northeast Missouri and West-Central Illinois," Phillipson said.
Phillipson said that this round of weather could start with rain tonight before switching over to snow overnight. Phillipson said the area could see 2 to 4 inches of snow by early Tuesday, and an additional 3 to 5 inches falling throughout the day on Tuesday.
"When all is said and done, that area could wind up between 7 and 9 inches," Phillipson said. "It just depends on how the storm sets up."
Blizzard conditions already had slammed parts of the central Plains this morning, forcing the closing of highways in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and sending public works crews scrambling for salt and sand anew just days after a massive storm blanketed the region with snow.
National Weather Service officials in Kansas and Oklahoma issued blizzard warnings and watches through tonight as the storm packing snow and high wind tracked eastward across west Texas toward Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.
Quincy also is gearing up for another wintry blast.
Marty Stegeman, director of Central Services, said he is sending his crews home early today and expects to start running 12-hour shifts starting at 7 p.m.
"Right now, we are out dressing up the roads," he said. "We're pushing snow back on roads that we didn't get curb to curb, but we're still dealing with cars that are still plowed in from the last storm. It's tough to keep it clean from curb to curb when you get hit back-to-back like this."
Stegeman expects to have between 12 and 15 people out keeping the roads clean overnight. Those crews have been busy since the first round of snow hit around the noon hour on Thursday. The crews worked all the way through 11 p.m. on Saturday. Stegeman said he gave them all Sunday off in anticipation for this week's battle.
The city has plenty of salt, Stegeman said.
"If we run out of salt, then it's worse than we've ever seen before," he said. "We have 4,000 tons of salt. We never go through more than 2,500 to 3,000 tons."
If the forecast holds, city crews will be busy for several days. The weather service is calling for a 50 percent chance of snow on Wednesday.
Phillipson said this storm could have a bit of a different wrinkle as wind, which wasn't a problem last week, could cause drifting in rural areas. She said that the wind is expected to blow from the northwest at between 15 and 20 mph, with gusts of up to 30 mph.
Thundersnow, which was a part of last week's storm, is possible in this storm as well, Phillipson said.
"It is rare," Phillipson said of thundersnow. "That makes this season rare because we've had quite a few systems that have had thundersnow accompany them."