Midwest copes with early spring snowstorm - Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

Midwest digging out from early spring snowstorm

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This snow-covered stop sign suggests what many are thinking about the spring snow. (H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt) This snow-covered stop sign suggests what many are thinking about the spring snow. (H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt)
Snow covers tree branches in a Quincy yard Sunday morning. Experts warn about heavy snow snapping branches. (H-W Photo/Michael Kipley)) Snow covers tree branches in a Quincy yard Sunday morning. Experts warn about heavy snow snapping branches. (H-W Photo/Michael Kipley))
Jesse Huckaby of Quincy brushes snow from his vehicle on Madison Street on Sunday morning. (H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt) Jesse Huckaby of Quincy brushes snow from his vehicle on Madison Street on Sunday morning. (H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt)
A view of the snowmall in Quincy on Sunday night. (H-W Photo/Michael Kipley) A view of the snowmall in Quincy on Sunday night. (H-W Photo/Michael Kipley)

By MAGGIE MENDERSKI and DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writers

West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri continued digging out Monday from another blast of winter weather even though the calendar says it's spring.

Light snow continued to fall across the area, adding to snowfall totals ranging from some 4 inches in parts of Hancock County to more than 13 inches reported in southern Pike County.

"You might see an additional one-half inch of snow, but the storm is basically done," said Laura Kanofsky, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in the St. Louis forecast office.

Schools in rural Adams, Brown, Hancock and Pike counties along with some across Northeast Missouri canceled classes, while snowplows worked throughout the day Sunday, overnight and continued Monday to clear the roads.

"Depending on what that wind does, we might have some guys out tonight," said Bill Grimsley, temporary lead worker on his shift at the Illinois Department of Transportation maintenance depot in Pittsfield "The wind's what really hurts you. If the wind wasn't blowing, we could get things cleaned up."

Roads across the area remained snow covered, with some drifting. Southern portions of the area reported heavier snowfall.

"There was a pretty good stripe of heavy snowfall that fell across parts of central Missouri, from Columbia to the St. Louis metro area and adjacent areas of Illinois," Kanofsky said. "After scattered snow showers today, tonight should be dry and the same thing for Tuesday. The next chance of precipitation for the area will probably be over the weekend."

Despite the wintry weather, Bev Gable prepared for springtime pictures Sunday morning inside the Quincy Mall.

Spring lilies, colored eggs and a skimpy line of children awaited the Easter Bunny's arrival just before the mall opened. The unusually snowy winter had carried over into the spring, and Gable had braved the roads from her home in Camp Point. Many of her subjects also had traveled through a snow-filled parking lot wearing springtime attire.

"Easter is early this year, so we have to deal with the weather," Gable said.

The Missouri Department of Transportation issued a travel advisory for Saturday and Sunday.

Marisa Ellison, MoDOT communication specialist, said the area south of Hannibal had been hit the hardest. Most of U.S. 36 and U.S. 61 were still considered snow covered.

Ellison advised of snow-filled tree branches which might snap and cause damage.

Downtown Quincy was quiet most of Sunday morning. Katelyn Ralsten served breakfast to a light mid-morning crowd at Thyme Square at the corner of Fifth and Hampshire. Her car was damaged during the last snowstrom and has yet to be repaired.

"I would be excited to see snow outside if it was December," she said. "But to be walking in this weather is just not what I had in mind."

Church parking lots still remained full. Pat Stegeman recalled a similarly icy Easter season during the spring of 1979. Despite the weather, she joined the crowd for Palm Sunday Mass at St. Peter Catholic Church.

"I thought it was a good crowd for the weather," Stegeman said.

The rest of the Midwest hasn't fared much better than the Tri-State region. The National Weather Service said parts of Colorado and northwest Kansas saw 10 to 15 inches of snow Saturday, and southwestern Nebraska had up to 7 inches. Winds gusting at speeds of up to 45 mph created snow drifts of 2 to 3 feet in the three states, said Ryan Husted, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Goodland, Kan.

The storm dumped 7 to 9 inches of snow from eastern Kansas into central Missouri before tapering off Sunday morning, said Dan Hawblitzel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in suburban Kansas City.

Transportation officials reopened several closed highways, including a stretch of Interstate 70 spanning from Denver to Colby, Kan.

In the central Missouri town of Columbia, TV station KOMU was briefly evacuated Sunday morning because of high winds and a heavy buildup of snow on the broadcast tower next to the building.

The National Weather Service issued storm warnings and advisories for Monday as far east as Pennsylvania, and officials were blaming two deaths in separate crashes in Kansas and Missouri on snow-slicked roads.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

—mmenderski@whig.com/221-3385

- dhusar@whig.com/221-3379

Editor's Note: This story has been updated since the original post on Sunday, March 24.

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