ST. LOUIS – With snow and dangerously cold weather expected to bear down on the St. Louis region Thursday, safe travel on the roadways may be a matter of “timing” this holiday season.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri AAA are advising people to move up their travel plans if possible.  

There is potential for wind chills as low as -35 on Friday, Dec. 23 into Saturday, Dec. 24.  

“If you’ve got an opportunity to maybe move that up a couple of days to avoid the winter weather that might impact the roadways, that might be an option for you, too,” said Cpl. Dallas Thompson of the Missouri Highway Patrol. “If you can’t, we understand. There are some things that are just life. We’ve got to get out on the roadways. We’ve got to move. We’ve got to travel. Just be smart!”  

State troopers are packing winter storm gear in their vehicles ahead of the cold weather.  

“Extra uniforms, extra coats…we wear winter heat gear because we know we might be out in the elements for extended periods of time,” Thompson said.  

In January 2019, drivers were snowbound and stranded on Interstates 44 and 64 in St. Louis County. Drivers reported moving a half-mile or less in six hours. 

Nick Chabarria of Missouri AAA encouraged drivers to have a blanket, some drinking water, snacks, and a phone charger in your vehicle. Keep the gas tank “full.”

“If you do get stuck behind a wreck, and you have to wait, you want to be able to stay warm, keep your vehicle running, keep the heat on,” Chabarria said. “For example, if you’re going on the interstate over a bridge and something happens on that bridge, that could be shut down for hours until they get vehicles removed. It’s not just your ability to drive in the ice or snow.”  

Thompson recommended that people be prepared for the unknown.  

“There’s a possibility you might slide off into a ditch, your car will break down, you have that flat tire. Be prepared for things like that,” he said.