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Snow storms blanket Vandalia area

Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 9:34 am

Snow sits piled nearly clearing the height of a stop sign on Lindell St. at Railroad Park after city crews worked to clear snow from two area storms.

The rare “thundersnow” storm on Thursday, February 21, paired with a dawdling dump lasting through most of last week left more than a foot and a half of snow in parts of northeast Missouri.
Leaving area schools closed, as well as some local businesses, the storm on February 21 left about 11 inches in Northern Audrain County and Pike County with another roughly five inches in back-to-back bouts last Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The much needed moisture won’t pull Audrain County out of its severe drought and disaster designations. And whether the recent snow dumps will help subsoil moisture out of 2012’s near one foot precipitation deficit in northeast Missouri is up in the air.
“Just numerically, it can’t happen,” Randall Miles, associate professor of soil science at the University of Missouri said. “First of all (the snow) is not in the soil yet, it is on top. Until it gets into the soil, we don’t know.”
According to NOAA, soil moisture is expected to increase to near normal levels over most of Missouri — especially in areas with deep snow pack — with more improvements anticipated over the next couple of weeks.
Miles said that depends on how fast the snow melts off.
He said with a slow melt, the moisture will seep into the soil much more efficiently. However, warm temperatures would make the snow quickly melt, in which case the water will be more likely to find its way into streams, ponds, and lakes with less seeping into the soil.

Read the full report in The Vandalia Leader’s March 6 issue.