A power outage was reported in Columbia around 8:30 p.m. Monday with below zero temperatures one day after the area received up to a foot of snow. Ameren reported 1,108 customers still without power as of midnight, but power was restored to most residents shortly after midnight. A cause of the outage was not known.
Ameren crews responded to their substation on North Briegel Street, which is where the power outage is believed to have occurred.
Columbia Mayor Kevin Hutchinson said that due to the uncertain power restoration time estimates, Columbia High School was opened as a warming center for any resident wishing to seek shelter.
Hutchinson also stressed that any resident planning to leave their home for the night should shut the water off or leave a slight drip from the faucet to prevent frozen pipes.
As a result of the bone-chilling cold and roadways that remain snow-covered throughout the county (some still impassable), Waterloo, Columbia, Valmeyer, Red Bud, Dupo and Millstadt schools will be closed on Tuesday. Gibault Catholic High School has scheduled an “e-learning” day so students will not have to report to the school.
Other closings announced for Tuesday include the Waterloo and Columbia senior centers and the Smithton library. The community is also urged to check on the elderly and family and friends to make sure they are doing ok in this brutal winter cold.
City road crews in Waterloo and Columbia worked around the clock from Sunday morning through Monday evening to clear as much snow as possible on streets. Police have responded to several minor accidents and assisted with motorists stuck in the snow, but no major crashes or injuries have been reported.