Missouri drivers urged to stay off roads ahead of ice storm

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COLUMBIA - Local and state authorities warned Missouri drivers to stay off the roads ahead of an ice storm expected to arrive Friday morning.

The Missouri Department of Transportation said drivers should stay of the roads starting Thursday night, until Sunday, when conditions are expected to improve.

MoDOT also asked college students who were not already back in town to wait until Monday to drive back to campus. 

The department said it used a mixture of chemicals and salt to prepare the roads ahead of the storm. However, it still said ice is the most difficult storm to fight. 

The Columbia Police Department also urged its officers to stay in one place, unless responding to an emergency. 

"We do encourage our officers that if they don't have to be out there driving around, then, I used to call it plan "P." You know, park someplace where you're visible," Police Chief Ken Burton said. "Then, if you've got an emergency then just stay in your beat, go handle that emergency and then come back. Driving around, it's just a recipe for disaster."

MoDOT also gave reminders on driving in icy weather if a person has to travel during the storm:

  • Leave plenty of space behind other vehicles.
  • Give snow plows room to work on the roads.
  • If you get in an accident, remain in your car until help arrives.
  • Put chains on the tires of your vehicle. 
  • Travel with a full tank of gas. 

The ice storm is expected to arrive between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. in most parts of mid-Missouri.