City of St. Louis Outlines Preparations for Freezing Winter Weather
Residents urged to stay aware of changing forecasts and plan ahead
As the City of St. Louis prepares for a Wind Advisory from the National Weather Service (NWS) beginning Friday, January 12th, City agencies are joining the NWS to urge residents to take precautions and preventive measures to protect themselves and their families during extreme temperatures. With potentially hazardous conditions, residents should consider adjusting travel plans, and follow local media, the City’s website and City Emergency Management (CEMA) social media alerts for information, resources and updates. Residents should also sign up for the City’s emergency weather alerts from NotifySTL by registering on the city’s website.
“We urge everyone to stay aware of changing forecasts and plan ahead to keep your loved ones safe,” said CEMA Commissioner Sarah Russell. “For those who must travel, take extra precautions. Stay alert and follow local media, the City’s website, and CEMA for important updates.”
The City of St. Louis Streets Department anticipates rain during the day with the potential to freeze overnight possibly creating icy roads in the evening. Due to the rain, Streets crews will be on standby to treat the roads as necessary, or to begin plowing if conditions change. A list of St. Louis’ 450 linear miles of snow routes can be found on the city’s website, and residents are urged to avoid parking on snow routes. The City will prioritize plowing and treatment on main arterials, followed by secondary snow routes.
“Drivers should take extra care during storms navigating slick wet roads and remember to slow down,” said Streets Commissioner Kent Flake. “Crews are ready to work to keep city streets clear and safe for residents, so if you do not need to be on the roads, please avoid driving to give them the space they need to work.”
This year the City of St. Louis Department of Human Services (DHS) has ensured that all City-funded shelters operate 24/7. Those in need of shelter or who see someone in need can call 2-1-1 to be connected to available resources. A list of daytime warming centers can be found on the City’s website or by calling 2-1-1. For referral assistance, individuals without phones can stop by Kaleidoscope Center at Centenary United Methodist Church, 1610 Pine St, St. Louis, MO 63103 between 5:00pm - 7:00pm during sub-20 degree weather (or 25 and under with precipitation). AmeriCorps St. Louis, 1315 Ann Ave, St. Louis, MO 63104 also opens shelter beds Thursday to Sunday during sub-20 degree weather (or 25 and under with precipitation).
Area seniors, people with physical disabilities, and low-income families who cannot afford to pay their winter heating bills may qualify for help through Heatupstlouis.org, a regional charity serving as a safety net providing utility assistance to those in need. To qualify, visit https://heatupstlouis.org/ or call 314-241-0001.
The forecasted extreme cold temperatures can also impact a person’s health, leading to concerns of falls from icy surfaces, frostbite, and hypothermia.
“Prolonged time outside puts someone at risk for these dangerous conditions,” says Justen Hauser, Environmental Health Services Bureau Chief for the Department of Health. “It’s important to monitor your friends, family and loved ones for signs of hypothermia, including shivering, confusion, drowsiness, or bright red and cold skin. If you witness any of this, contact a medical provider quickly.”
Fire & Heat Safety
During the cold season, space heaters are a common way to provide additional warmth. The City of St. Louis Fire Department strongly recommends using the primary heating system designed for your home. However, if you choose to use a space heater as a supplemental heating source, it's crucial to use them safely and in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. Always keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing, and rugs. Never leave a heater unattended and always turn it off before going to bed or leaving the room. Ensure your space heater has an automatic shut-off feature in case it tips over.
"Every winter, we see the risks that come with improper use of space heaters. This year, as we anticipate dangerously low temperatures and high winds, we urge everyone to prioritize safety,” said said Fire Chief Dennis M. Jenkerson. “A moment's inattention can lead to devastating consequences. Remember, your safety is in your hands. Let's keep our community warm and safe by following these simple guidelines."
The City of St. Louis Water Division will be monitoring its water mains, as freezing temperatures increase the potential for cracks and breaks. City residents who see leaking water are recommended to report to the Citizens Service Bureau at 314.622.4800 or online, or to the Water Division's emergency line at 314.771.4880.
Freezing pipes in the homes may prove detrimental during extreme weather. The Water Division recommends shutting off any external water pipes and disconnecting hoses. Indoors, residents should ensure pipes are insulated or kept warm by keeping cabinet doors open, as well as keeping faucets at a slow trickle.
The City joins the NWS St. Louis’ recommendation that commuters begin any travel with a full tank of gas and to carry a winter storm kit, which includes a shovel, flashlight, cellphone, food, water, blankets, and extra warm clothing. Drivers should plan for a slower-than-normal trip and be extremely cautious when approaching bridges, exit ramps, overpasses, and curves in the road. In Missouri, call 1-888-275-6636 or use the MODOT Travelers Map mobile app for state road information.