Timing can turn even small St. Louis winter storms deadly

Weather

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – How can you tell how severe a storm is? It’s not always how much snow falls or how thick the ice gets. Here in St. Louis, it is the timing of those storms and the temperatures that seem to make all the difference.

On February 23, 2011, a five-minute shower of light freezing rain during the morning rush hour led to a 30 car pileup on the Vandeventer overpass. It closed the interstate for hours.

After a week of frigid temperatures, a light freezing drizzle fell across the area on December 16, 2016. The amounts were too light to even measure. But, it was enough to turn a 10-minute drive into a 4, 5, or 6-plus hour commute. Students trying to get home for the holidays from Mizzou were stranded on I-70 for hours.

This year, to try and help you plan better, FOX 2 will be using the new winter storm severity index It’s a new way of looking at winter weather events to gauge their potential impact.

Here’s how it works. Whether it is a few flurries or heavy snow, we will start with timing. Any winter weather going into a rush-hour can quickly become a problem.

We are going to look at the ground temperatures, the wind, and the intensity of the precipitation. From there, we boil it all down into a level of impact that will range from limited all the way up to the extreme.

So, be on the lookout for the winter storm severity index. It is all new this winter on FOX 2 and News 11.

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