Black ice created havoc for some Phelps County drivers early Monday morning. According to Meteorologist Steve Lindenberg with the National Weather Service in Springfield, it was just a case of drizzle from the heavy morning fog that settled on sub-freezing pavement.

Black ice created havoc for some Phelps County drivers early Monday morning. According to Meteorologist Steve Lindenberg  with the National Weather Service in Springfield, it was just a case of drizzle from the heavy morning fog that settled on sub-freezing pavement.

“A dense fog formed at dewpoint (where temperature and air moisture form fine suspended water droplets) and the ground temperature was just cold enough [in places] to freeze the precipitation,” he said.

At 8:28 p.m. Sunday evening, Steve M. Lorts, age 49, from St. James, escaped injury after his northbound 2007 Ford F250 travelled across the center line on Route B, approximately 1.8 miles north of St. James. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol accident report, Lorts overcorrected, traveling off of the right side of the road, striking several trees. He was wearing a safety device and managed to escape injury; but the truck was totaled. Trp. B.C. Rowden was investigating for the Missouri State Highway Patrol and was assisted by Phelps County Deputy Edgar.

Rolla residents were awakened by sirens early Monday morning, after a Salem man lost control of his 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer on a slick County Road 3060, one-tenth of a mile west of Glassphalt Road at 5:35 a.m. Lon Reising, age 53, was traveling eastbound when he slid off the north side of the roadway and overturned. He was transported to Phelps County Regional Medical Center with minor injuries. The incident was investigated by Trp I. A. Cox and was assisted by the Rolla Police Department and Rolla Rural Fire.

At around 7:45 a.m. Monday morning, a Kia SUV slid into the back of a school bus with children on board on Soest Road near the Rolla Middle School driveway. The driver of the Kia was unresponsive according to dispatch. There were no child injuries on the bus, as confirmed by the Rolla Police Department on the site. At 8 o’clock Monday morning, the driver of the Kia was transported to Phelps County Regional Medical Center.

The black ice was a wake-up call for residents that were relieved Sunday’s ice storm didn’t materialize as they headed for work Monday morning.
Rolla Public Works Director Steve Hargus said his crews came in on Saturday to prepare for ice on Sunday.

“Sunday we had a full crew on—all the units were in town,” said Hargus. It rained all day and never did start freezing.”
He said he left a small crew on Sunday night to respond to areas that were slick, and salted areas like bridges and hills.

“This morning (Monday) they made the rounds before they went home at 7 a.m. and everything was in good shape, he explained.  “Those ice pockets popped up this morning. I think what happened is we just had a heavy misting fog that settled down in some low places and froze.”

He said the road crew responded to salt the area at the Middle School, once they got the call from the Rolla Police Department.
“These areas were very isolated,” he noted.