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Motorists Advised to Use Caution Until Road Conditions Improve
February 4, 2014 - With a forecast of 3-6" of snow, St. Louis Street Department crews began plowing on major arteries Tuesday afternoon, as seen on South Broadway. Public schools, as well as St. Louis City Hall and City Offices, were closed early and motorists are encouraged to stay off the roads as the brunt of the storm is expected to hit during the evening rush hour.
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), February 5, 2014 - High winds and blowing snow across much of the state means motorists are advised to use caution if they venture outside today. The Missouri Department of Transportation reports that as of noon on Feb. 5, most state routes are still covered or partly covered with snow or ice.
"The additional snow accumulation overnight, combined with the strong winds means roads that were plowed yesterday will need additional effort today," said Beth Wright, state maintenance engineer. "Now that the heavy snow has stopped, we are already making progress and expect road conditions to improve throughout the day."
While MoDOT's snow plow forces continue their 24-hour schedule, motorists should be advised that it may take some time before Missouri state routes return to normal conditions. It's also possible motorists may encounter slick spots due to refreeze or where blowing snow covers an already-plowed roadway.
"The colder it is, the less effective our materials become," said Wright. "At 30 degrees, one pound of salt melts 46 pounds of ice, but that same pound of salt melts less than four pounds of ice when it's zero degrees."
MoDOT uses abrasive materials, such as sand, in combination with salt to help provide traction on snow-covered roadways when bitterly cold temperatures occur.
Midweek Winter Storm to Sock More Than Two Dozen States
The storm has the potential to drop 6 inches or more of snow on portions of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Graphic courtesy AccuWeather.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), February 3, 2014 - The City of St. Louis has issued a Winter Weather Advisory in effect from 9 a.m. Tuesday, February 4, to 6 a.m. Wednesday, February 5, 2014, with snow accumulations from 2 up to 5 inches and wind gusts up to 20 mph.
A major winter storm with heavy snow, ice and a wintry mix will reach from the southern and central Plains to the Midwest and Northeast spanning Tuesday and Wednesday, according to AccuWeather.com.
The storm will directly impact more than two dozen states and at least 100 million people with snow and/or ice. Travel delays and disruptions to daily activities are likely.
The storm has the potential to drop 6 inches or more of snow on portions of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
There is a long list of major cities that can receive enough snow to shovel and plow. These include Denver, St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Detroit, Boston, Scranton, Pa., Hartford, Conn., and Buffalo, N.Y.
In a narrow zone, as the snow becomes more wet and heavy or changes to ice, there is the potential for downed trees and power outages. The area where this is most likely to occur will reach from central Oklahoma to along the Ohio River to part of the central Appalachians and the I-95 corridor from the northern mid-Atlantic to southern New England. This includes the area around Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and New York City.
Even at airports not directly affected by heavy wintry precipitation, there is the potential for rounds of flight delays and cancellations with this storm.
Additional major winter storms and associated disruptions to travel and daily activities will follow through at least the middle of the month approximately every two to four days.
Old Scams Return to St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), February 3, 2014 - Just like an "oldies" radio station, St. Louis is seeing a blast from the past. The Fraud Prevention Task Force has been made aware of the return of two scams to the area.
The first scam was brought to the attention of the Fraud Prevention Task Force by a fellow staff member at the Circuit Attorney's Office. She had received a telephone call from a man with a heavy accent who claimed to represent Windows. He explained that Windows discovered she had a computer virus. He could fix this for her if she would open her computer. She immediately became suspicious and asked the caller to prove his identity. He gave her the phone number of 866-539-8674 and said his employee badge number was 6012. She refused to cooperate and hung up on the caller.
This scam works when a criminal calls and tries to convince the victim that a virus exists when in fact this is not the case. Another variation is introducing a virus into the computer through an email when its attachments are opened or its links are clicked.
The second scam that has been reported in the area involves bogus calls. According to the AARP's consumer advocate Sid Kerchheimer, December 2013 showed an alarming increase in telephone calls and text messages to victims indicating there were problems with the victims' credit or debit card accounts and bank accounts. Thousands of people have been targeted in Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Missouri.
In this scam, victims are informed via a recorded voice or text message that their bank account, credit, debit or ATM card has been frozen or closed, often due to "fraudulent activity."
The victim is often instructed to call a "fraud hotline" where a recorded or live voice instructs them to provide sensitive data such as account numbers or PIN numbers. These are all forms of "phishing" or trying to elicit personal information for purposes of identity theft. When done by phone, it is called "vishing," short for voice phishing. By text, it is called "smishing" named for SMS, the communications protocol which sends texts.
Cities Hope Supreme Court Will Hear Red-Light Safety Camera Appeals
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), January 31, 2014 - Cities from across Missouri hope that the Missouri Supreme Court will hear a series of appeals filed in cases challenging the validity of red-light camera ordinances. These inconsistent lower-court rulings have caused uncertainty for municipalities and threaten their ability to pass a wide range of local public safety ordinances beyond red-light cameras.
The Missouri Municipal League (MML), which represents the interests of 674 municipalities, has filed amicus briefs in support of the Missouri Supreme Court hearing the appeals. MML believes the Missouri Supreme Court can provide cities with clear direction and guidance to clear up the conflicting decisions at the court of appeals.
"Local elected officials and law enforcement need the ability to pass and enforce municipal ordinances dealing with public safety," said Dan Ross, MML Executive Director. "These conflicting lower court rulings have caused uncertainty and threaten to undermine the very system of local control that Missourians strongly support. We hope the Missouri Supreme Court will hear these appeals and provide the cities the guidance they need to improve public safety through local ordinances."
More than 30 Missouri municipalities, including St. Louis and Kansas City, have local ordinances dealing with red-light safety camera enforcement. As part of every program, the company operating the cameras sends videotape of incidents to local law enforcement, which then independently make terminations about when to issue violations.
While some of these cities continue to enforce these ordinances, others have temporarily suspended their programs due to uncertainty caused by these conflicting court rulings.Kansas City is joining a 10-city effort to significantly boost energy efficiency in city buildings, a move that could over time lower the energy bills of Kansas City businesses by as much as $55 million annually and cut the equivalent amount of energy generated by 29,000 homes annually.
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