ST. LOUIS — Gusty winds through northeast Missouri and west central Illinois could drop wind chill temperatures far below zero on Thursday, adding bitter cold to the few inches of snow left on the ground after Wednesday night’s frosting, according to the National Weather Service.
Precipitation could freeze on roads and overpasses as the weather becomes colder, the weather service warned, cautioning that drivers should watch for slick spots.
Some areas could get up to two inches of snow overnight, and there’s a chance some in the region may see some snow flurries on Thursday, according to the forecast. In addition, the sudden bursts of wind, in combination with the cold, could result in a wind chills dipping to 20 below zero, explained weather service meteorologist Matt Beitscher.
“There’s going to be a strong air mass that moves in behind this system that’s going to be pretty cold, and that combination leads to stronger winds, which will drop the wind chill values significantly,” he said.
Thursday morning is expected to start out cloudy and then become sunny in the afternoon, bringing with it a bone-chilling cold. Temperatures are expected to hover around 15 degrees during the daylight hours in St. Louis, with wind gusts up to 28 miles per hour. A low of 4 degrees is predicted for Thursday.
The temperatures were in the low 30s around 6 a.m. Thursday and had dropped more than 10 degrees by 8 a.m.
St. Louis city is offering emergency shelter to homeless people through the end of the month. There will be 186 overflow beds available, in addition to the city’s 930 year-round shelter beds. The city also makes warming buses available in the evenings, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 13th and Chestnut streets.
“During the day, the city will be asking shelters and other providers to allow unhoused individuals, if they choose, to stay during the day or open earlier than planned,” said Jacob Long, spokesman for the mayor’s office, adding that some churches and libraries downtown allow the homeless to shelter from the cold during the day.
Shelters in St. Louis County are open 24 hours a day, said Yusef Scoggin, director of the county’s office of family and community services. There are 324 beds in shelters funded by the county. The county is also offering overflow beds during the cold weather.
The winds should mellow by Friday, when it’s forecast to be sunny with a high of 27 degrees. Temperatures will warm up through the weekend and are expected to “flirt with 60” degrees by Monday, Beitscher said.