Understanding Winter Weather and Advisories to Avoid Auto Body Accidents

Heavy snow can easily freeze the Central Missouri region and immobilize a town such as Mexico, MO, stranding commuters, closing airports, blocking the movement of supplies, and interrupting emergency and medical services. The weight of snow can cause roofs to collapse and knock-down trees and electrical lines. Houses and farms can be isolated for several days and unprotected livestock can be lost. In high altitude climates, heavy snow can lead to avalanches. The cost of snow removal, fixing damages like car accidents, and the loss of business can have dangerous economic impacts on cities and towns. Definitely, winter weather can impact every area of our lives.

winter driving safety tips auto body accident mexico missouri hail damageAt Ben’s Auto Body, we can verify the truth that motorists ought to be informed and especially wary concerning winter weather. That’s why we have put together the subsequent information from the National Weather Service for the folks of Mexico, Centralia, Vandalia, Fulton, and Kingdom City, MO regarding cold weather safety.

  • Blizzard: Sustained winds or recurring gusts of 35 mph or more with snow and blowing snow regularly lowering visibility to less than a quarter-mile for 3 hours or more.
  • Blowing Snow: Wind-driven snowfall that decreases visibility. Blowing snow may be falling snow and/or snow on the ground picked up by the wind.
  • Snow Squalls: Brief, intense snow showers coupled with strong, gusty winds. Accumulation can be immense.
  • Snow Showers: Snow falling at varying intensities for short time periods. Some accumulation is possible.
  • Flurries: Light snow falling for short durations with little or no accumulation.
  • Avalanche: A mass of tumbling snow. Over eighty percent of midwinter avalanches are brought on by a rapid accumulation of snow and 90 percent of those avalanches occur in 24 hours or less of snowfall. An avalanche may reach a mass of a million tons and travel at speeds up to 200 miles per hour. Needless to say, we are not very likely to see something like this in Mid-MO.

If you're planning on hitting the roads this winter without causing an auto body accident, you should be well informed. In order to be informed, you must know the various advisories issued by the National Weather Service. Winter weather related Warnings, Watches and Advisories are issued by your local National Weather Service office. Each office knows the local area and will issue Warnings, Watches, or Advisories according to local criteria. For example, the amount of snow that triggers a “Winter Storm Warning” in the Central Missouri area is usually a lot higher than the amount needed to trigger a “Winter Storm Warning” in the Southeast.

Here are a few more key terms to understand:

  • Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the earth; making a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees, and utility lines.
  • Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Wind Chill: an estimate of how cold people feel because of the combined effect of wind and cold temperatures; the Wind Chill Index is dependent on the rate of heat loss from uncovered skin. Both cold temperatures and wind remove heat from the body; as the wind-speed increases during cold conditions, a body loses heat more quickly. At some point, the internal body temperature also drops and hypothermia can develop. Animals also feel the effects of wind chill; but inanimate objects, like cars and buildings, do not. They will only cool to the actual air temperature, though much faster during windy conditions.

The people at Ben’s Auto Body want to ensure that you're not a part of a Mid-Missouri auto body accident resulting from slick winter roads. If however you do find yourself needing auto body repair, think about having your vehicle taken to Ben’s Auto Body.

Graphic and Information Courtesy of National Weather Service.