Prepare now for bitter cold temperatures, snow

(KBSI) – There is a potential for snow and frigid temperatures to end this week.

A winter storm will move across the KBSI FOX23 viewing area Wednesday night and Thursday leaving bitterly cold temperatures in its wake.

The Missouri Department of Transportation urges all drivers to be aware of changing road conditions both where they are and where they are going.

According to the National Weather Service, snow will begin moving into northwest Missouri Wednesday night and move across the state throughout the day Thursday.

High winds and bitterly cold temperatures are also anticipated. Blowing and drifting snow as well as possible whiteout conditions will make driving dangerous, and sub-zero wind chills can be life-threatening if drivers become stranded.

In some parts of Missouri, precipitation could start as rain and quickly turn to snow with potential flash freezing of roadways.

“Cleanup, particularly during overnight hours, could take longer than usual after the snow ends because the chemicals used to treat the roads lose their effectiveness in bitterly cold temperatures,” said Becky Allmeroth, MoDOT’s chief safety and operations officer. “Snowfall totals are manageable, but high winds and bitterly cold temperatures will make clearing the roads difficult. Motorists should take extra preparations before you take to the road.”

In the cold months of 2021 (January, February, March, November, and December) there were 25 people killed and 1,995 people injured in a total of 7,392 crashes with weather conditions of snow, sleet/hail, or freezing, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Checklist if you need to travel:

  • Make sure you have a full tank of gas, blankets, gloves and provisions like water and snacks in the event of an emergency.
  • Make sure your cellphone is fully charged, but never use it while driving.
  • If you should slide off the road, or are involved in a crash, stay inside your vehicle with your seat belt buckled until help arrives.

Kentucky State Police offers these reminders if you have to venture out:

  • Ensure your vehicle is clear of snow and ice before driving.
  • Reduce speed during precipitation, low visibility, or slippery roadway conditions.
  • Increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Turn on your headlights.
  • If you see emergency lights up ahead, slow down well in advance of the incident scene.
  • Bridges freeze first. Use extreme caution on bridges and overpasses.
  • If you begin to skid, let off of the accelerator and turn in the direction that you are skidding to regain traction. Do not brake during a skid.
  • Refrain from calling 911 for roadway or weather conditions. Instead visit https://transportation.ky.gov/sites/snowky

“This is expected to be a dry snow which can create blizzard-like whiteout conditions around our snowplows,” Allmeroth said. “Many snowplow operators are new, and this will be their first winter event. If you encounter a snowplow or salt trucks on the road, always give them room to work. Do not tailgate or try to pass. Remember that a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.”

Check current Missouri road conditions on the Traveler Information Map at modot.org, or through MoDOT’s smartphone app, available for iPhone and Android phones.

Links to follow for road conditions in Missouri:

You can also call 888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636) to speak with a customer service representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

With cold weather settling in and the first major winter storm of the season potentially on its way, the Illinois Department of Transportation reminds the public to visit and bookmark GettingAroundIllinois.com for continually updated information on road conditions.

“Completely clearing roads during and after a weather event can take some time and depends on a variety of factors,” said said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “We will get the job done, but ask the public to please remain patient during winter weather and always check GettingAroundIllinois.com before driving anywhere for the most updated road conditions.”

GettingAroundIllinois.com is available on your computer and optimized for smartphones. The site includes the ability to identify and zoom in on a location, travel route or destination on a state map. Road conditions are recorded by plow drivers out in the field and relayed to GettingAroundIllinois.com through a cloud-based system to provide a general overview on IDOT-maintained highways.

The road conditions map features a color scheme of pinks and blues to differentiate from the red, yellow and green of traffic congestion reporting, as well as to increase accessibility for those who have difficulty distinguishing colors.

View road conditions for each state in the KBSI FOX23 viewing area in the links below.

Kentucky travelers can also visit snowKY.ky.gov for traffic info, priority route maps and winter safety tips.

AAA Insurance reports the average regional frozen pipe claim in 2022 costs more than $11,000, though the amount can be much higher depending on damage to personal property. That average figure increased by more than $3,500 from 2020 due to a rise in repair costs.

Check out these tips from AAA…

While You Are Away from Home During Extreme Cold

  • Let water drip from the faucet. This will help provide relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and any ice blockage.
  • Keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to allow warmer air to circulate around your plumbing.
  • Leave your heat on, keeping the thermostat set above 55°.
  • Use an insulated sleeve to cover any exposed exterior water pipes (sprinkler, pool supply lines, etc.) or interior water pipes (basement, crawl spaces, etc.).

More Ways You to Protect Your Home

  • Remove hoses from exterior faucets
  • Repair or replace weather stripping around windows and doors, vents and fans, plumbing, air conditioners and electrical and gas lines.
  • Use caulk or insulation to seal all cracks, holes and other openings on exterior walls.
  • Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces will help protect pipes. Close foundation vents and windows to basements.
  • Wrap vulnerable pipes with pipe insulation.
  • Know where your water shutoff valve is so that you can turn off the water in case of an emergency.
  • Close your wood burning fireplace flue damper when you’re not using it. Follow all manufacturer instructions for gas fireplaces including those with pilot lights, which may require the flue to be partially open at all times.

Winter Damages Covered by Homeowners Insurance

Winter comes with snow, and sometimes lots of it. If your roof collapses or is damaged due to the weight of snow or ice from a storm, a standard home insurance policy may cover the damage.

Another threat to your home in the winter season are cold snaps. Water left standing in pipes when the temperature drops may expand with enough force to cause it to burst, leading to serious water damage if the issue isn’t immediately identified. Damage caused from burst pipes as well as the repair costs are covered by most standard home insurance policies, as long as regular maintenance is performed, and owners maintain heat in the building.

What’s Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance

Most storm damage is covered under Home Insurance, however there are exclusions that could apply.

Flash floods caused by a sudden rise in temperature during the winter months can cause significant damage to your home that will not be covered by your standard home insurance policy, but flood insurance can be purchased separately.

Most damages not covered by insurance are due to homeowner neglect or lack of maintenance. These may include damages resulting from extreme cold due to failure to maintain heat in your house.

More Winter Liabilities

In addition to the above risks, slips and falls on your property are always a possibility in winter. Such incidents are likely covered by the liability coverage that comes with your home insurance policy, but it’s a good idea to double check with your insurance agent. If you do experience an incident like this, help with potential legal aspects may also be included in your policy.

Is Your Home Insurance Ready?

By taking the necessary precautions and preparing your house for winter, you can avoid having to make an insurance claim this winter season. Trimming threatening trees, shutting off your water and drain pipes, and cleaning your gutters are all things that can be done before it gets too cold.

If a winter disaster does strike, having the right home insurance coverage will help. Review your policy with your agent to be sure you’re ready.

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