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Christmas winter wonderland

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

NOREEN HYSLOP photo - Stoddard County awoke to several inches of snow Wednesday morning. The area escaped the 10 to 12 inches that was predicted to fall overnight. Most areas locally saw an average of five inches, but high winds left drifts of three feet and higher in some areas. MoDOT crews were out overnight keeping area highways clear, and city crews were busy in the city of Dexter clearing snow routes for morning traffic.
Dexter escaped a predicted foot of snow overnight, but the city and surrounding area did awaken to about five to eight inches of wet snow Wednesday morning, with drifts piled three and four feet high in many areas. An unofficial report said Dudley did see a foot of snow. Winds howled throughout the night as high as 40 m.p.h. and continued to blow at about 20 to 25 m.p.h. throughout the morning hours.

Schools in the area were already closed for the Christmas holidays, but the snow-packed roads forced several other closings included the local Tyson Food plant, O.A.K.S. Nutrition Center in Dexter, Also closed were Stoddard County ARC, the Gospel Rescue Mission, Stoddard County Sheltered Workshop and the County Transit Authority.

Dexter and Bloomfield City offices were also shut down for the day, but Bernie City Hall was open. County government offices were already closed for the holidays.

Conditions also forced the decision to postpone the start of the Bloomfield Christmas Basketball Tournament. The games were scheduled to begin Wednesday night, but will now begin Thursday, Dec 27, assuming road conditions improve and do not freeze overnight. The championship game has been postponed until New Years Eve.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is advising against travel in southeast Missouri.

Power outages have been somewhat minimal from data gathered Wednesday morning. Ameren Missouri reported that as of 8 a.m. only six of their 7,499 customers in Stoddard County were without power.

Ozark Border Electric Cooperative, which services some of the western portion of Stoddard County, reported no outages as a result of the blizzard conditions.

On their official Facebook page, SEMO Electric stated that crews were out working all night to restore power to any affected areas and acknowledged that there were some outages in the Bell City area.

"Members of Team SEMO are working to restore power, but dealing with blowing snow and galloping lines (lines packed w/ snow and slapping together due to high winds)," a representative stated.

The National Weather Service placed 13 counties from the Bootheel to north of Cape Girardeau under a blizzard warning from Tuesday night to midday Wednesday.

MoDOT recommends checking its online Traveler Information Map for current road conditions. The agency also says its free Traveler Information app for tablets and mobile devices has recently been upgraded.

Temperatures in the immediate area are expected to range from the mid-20s to low 40s through Thursday and then take a dive Saturday night to the teens before rising to near 40 again through Sunday.

Associated Press contributed to this story.

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