Heavy snow and freezing winds are expected to continue blowing across the St. Louis region until late Monday evening, with the most snow piling up in the late afternoon.
There’s a winter storm warning in effect until midnight Monday and a wind chill advisory until 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Brad Charboneau, a senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in St. Louis, said he expects between 5 and 7 inches of light, fluffy snow to accumulate throughout the day.
He said St. Louis and southeastern Missouri will see the most snowfall in the region. He’s also expecting winds of 10 to 15 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph.
The wind chill is expected to fall to between 15 and 20 degrees below zero. Charboneau encouraged people to stay home if they can.
“Unless you absolutely have to go anywhere, staying home is definitely the play here today,” he said. “It’s the combination of the snow on the roads and also those cold temperatures makes it a really hazardous day to travel. And that’s really the main message we want to get across.”
But some residents are venturing outside to enjoy the snowfall. That includes Tower Grove South resident Stayce Mayfield, who stopped by Tower Grove Park on her way home from the grocery store.
“I just wanted to capture some photos because I think snow is gorgeous. It’s freezing, but I’m OK with that,” she said with a laugh. “It’s gorgeous out here. I mean because there’s nobody out here. It’s just God’s beauty — the snow, the ice, the sculptures that it’s creating from the fountain. I mean, it’s just, it’s beautiful.”
Many schools and government buildings were already closed Monday in observance of the Presidents Day holiday. Federal courthouses in St. Louis and Cape Girardeau will close Tuesday due to the weather, and the Missouri Senate canceled sessions this week.
Schnucks plans to close stores early Monday — at 8 p.m. — in St. Louis, Jefferson City, Cape Girardeau and in other areas.
MetroLink and MetroBus reported mid-afternoon they were experiencing minor delays due to the weather. They’re encouraging riders to dress warmly and allow extra time for their commutes.
The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police are warning drivers of slick roads and poor visibility along Interstate 55 and encouraging people to avoid travel. If it’s unavoidable, they suggest having a full gas tank and packing warm clothes, blankets, food, water, a first-aid kit and an ice scraper.
The City of Edwardsville and the Edwardsville YMCA opened temporary warming centers at the Meyer YMCA and at the Wildey Theatre due to a fire on the east side of town that left many homes and businesses without power.
Until about two weeks ago, meteorologist Charboneau said, it’s been a pretty mild winter.
“It’s really not until February until things took a turn in this cold, snowy direction,” he said. “Still plenty of time left. We’ve had snow events in March and even in April. We’re still kind of in wait-and-see mode for how this whole winter is going to stack up.”
He said this week’s winter storm is a departure from past years.
On this day last year, it was a balmy 47 degrees, and in 2018 it was a record high of 80 degrees.
Follow Corinne on Twitter: @corinnesusan