Central and Southwest Missouri Ice Storm

January, 2007


While travelling through Missouri on Interstate 44 on January 16, I stopped to get gas and to take a few pictures in the Lebanon area following the devastating ice storm a couple days earlier. Getting gas was a challenge (though I had filled up in Joplin in anticpation of difficulty anywhere northeast of there, but I wanted to keep the tank as full as possible). The first station I stopped at was closed due to having no power. The next one had power, but no gas. Finally, the third time was a charm - the station next to the second one I stopped at had gas, and for less than two dollars a gallon, at that!

After getting gas, I drove around the surrounding area to get a few pictures. As you can see from the two pictures below, there had been well over an inch of freezing rain - the tree branches had between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches of ice on them:

Trees and branches were down everywhere:

This picture shows how heavily the trees and wires were coated:

I saw places where wires were down just from the weight of the ice, even without trees or branches falling on them. In one place, lines were down between nearly every pole for well over a mile. I also saw places where the weight of the ice on lines simply broke the power poles.

Along I-44, there was a noticeable difference between the predominant mode of the storm in Oklahoma and in Missouri. In Oklahoma - the portion along I-44, that is - the precipitation was mostly sleet - typically two to three inches of it from Oklahoma City up through Joplin, MO, just across the state line. But from Joplin on, it became more freezing rain than snow, and there was heavy tree and powerline damage everywhere along I-44 from about halfway between Joplin and Springfield, through the Springfield and Lebanon areas, which were very hard hit, up to around Rolla. After that, there seemed to be less damage, though it was dark by the time I got to aroun d Sullivan. There were reports of heavy icing in west St. Louis County, just north of I-44, but ty the time I got to that area, it was too dark to tell how much ice there was. Fortunately, this time the Illinois part of the St. Louis metro area was spared, which is good, since we are only now getting to the point where most of the mess from the ice storm after Thanksgiving has finally been cleaned up.