Sleet and freezing rain is causing numerous accidents this morning, including one involving multiple vehicles. The ice storm began just before 5 a.m. and caused accidents throughout the region. The worst was on Interstate 64 near downtown St. Louis, where more than 20 cars and a couple of semis slid on ice. Ambulances and fire trucks responding to the scene were involved in the accident. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Fire Capt. Dan Sutter says 21 people were injured in the accident, one critically. Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Jeff Wilson said troopers responded to up to 60 accidents in St. Charles, Lincoln and St. Louis counties. Officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation says the icy conditions caught them a bit off guard. Assistant district engineer Tom Blair says crews were out patching potholes when they received word that freezing rain could be moving into the area.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is receiving about $216,000 from the federal government to study the condition of old, closed landfills in rural communities. The agency says many older landfills did not have to meet modern environmental standards, and many were not closed properly. The Department of Natural Resources says it will use the findings to train cities on how to maintain the closed dumps or buy and sell properties with landfills on them. The department wants to make sure the landfills don't pollute nearby water resources or otherwise harm the environment.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. and three others will face off April 5 in the general election after last night's mayoral primary. Parks received 47 percent of the vote. Councilman Delbert Marion was second with 25 percent and former Mayor Carl Edward Officer finished third with 24 percent. The Post-Dispatch reports that voter turnout was about 25 percent. The election comes as layoffs burden the city's police and the murder rate continues to rise.
As of today, the Missouri Department of Transportation has used plows and salt spreaders like these to spread more than 20,000 tons of salt and other materials on roads to fight this week's major winter storms. (Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio)
Snow plows stand at the ready for the Missouri Department of Transportation. The National Weather Service is predicting another snowfall of 3-6 inches for the St. Louis area beginning this afternoon. (Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio)
MoDOT crews began treating roads last night with a salt brine mix. Bruce Pettus, maintenance superintendent for MoDOT, says as the snow begins to fall, conditions will begin to deteriorate during rush hour traffic, making it difficult for crews to clear the roads.
"That's why we're asking the motorists to minimize travel, maybe leave a little early from work. And make that commute before we get accumulating snow. And then this evening, do the same thing, minimize travel. We're gonna have all of our forces on the road, but it'll just allow us more space to work."
Pettus says MoDOT will have over 200 trucks on the road once the snow begins to accumulate.