Live updates: 4 killed amid largest snowstorm in St. Louis since 2014, major travel disruptions across central US

brian.lada

Snow is snarling travel across the central United States as a winter storm pummels the region.

"For many areas, this will be a long-duration winter storm event that lasts more than 12 hours and perhaps as long as 48 hours in some cases," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

Heavy snow blankets central United States

AP Photo/Garret Fischer

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Fulton, Missouri

The winter storm began to unfold over the region on Friday afternoon with heavy snow and freezing rain across Missouri and Kansas. Some motorists became stranded on the snow-covered roads for hours, with additional travel delays likely through Saturday.

The weight of the heavy, wet snow could cause some trees to snap, leading to sporadic power outages.

Download the free AccuWeather app to see the start and end time of the storm as well as how much snow is predicted for your area.

abandoned cars

Wrecked cars abandoned along roads near Sappington, Missouri. Roads in the area are a dense slush or packed with snow. (Photo/Alex Elmore)

9:10 p.m. CST Friday:

The highest snowfall totals with the winter storm have been centered around St. Louis where accumulations range from 4 to 8 inches. Snow will continue to accumulate into Saturday, potentially making this one of the snowiest storms on record for the city.

Sections of Interstates 44, 64 and 70 have been closed around the city, causing typically short commuted to take hours. Even vehicles that usually navigate snowy roads with ease have had difficulties driving on roads around St. Louis.

8 p.m. CST Friday:

Snow-covered roads and major traffic backups has made it difficult for emergency crews to navigate roads across central Missouri. According to Marissa Thomas, who has been stuck on Interstate 44 since at least 3 p.m. CST, an ambulance got stuck in the snow when trying to pass on the shoulder.

snow ambulance

An ambulance stuck on the shoulder of Interstate 44 eastbound on Friday evening. (Photo/Marissa Thomas)

6:50 p.m. CST Friday:

Significant travel delays are causing headaches for divers on Interstate 44 west of St. Louis. Traffic is backed up for miles due to accidents on snow-covered roads with some people being stuck on the highway for nearly 4 hours. Some motorists have abandoned their cars along the side of the highway.

People around St. Louis should avoid travel unless absolutely necessary until road conditions improve.

I-44 backup

Traffic on Interstate 44 and vehicles trying to merge onto the highway were at a standstill on Friday evening amid snow-covered roads. (Photo/MoDOT)

6:10 p.m. CST Friday:

Saturday's basketball game between South Carolina and Missouri has been postponed due to winter storm. The game will be rescheduled for a future date.

5:15 p.m. CST Friday:

There have already been over 80 cancellations and 70 delays at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport today, according to FlightStats.com. Some flights to and from the airport have already canceled for Saturday.

A plane slid off the runway at Columbia Regional Airport in Columbia, Missouri, on Friday afternoon amid snowy conditions. Both runways were forced to close following the incident, according to ABC17. No injuries were reported, and all passengers were safely returned to the terminal.

at charles mo

Snow-covered roads in St. Charles, Missouri, on Friday evening. (Photo/Andrew Baker)

4 p.m. CST Friday:

Heavy snow has arrived in St. Louis and is disrupting travel across the city. Numerous accidents have been reported and have caused backups on roads, such as Interstate 44. Travel conditions will continue to deteriorate into Friday night as snow continues to accumulate on roads.

mo dot traffic snow

An accident caused major backups on Interstate 44 west of St. Louis on Friday afternoon. (Photo/MoDOT)

snow map traffic

By 4 p.m. CST Friday, many major roads across central and eastern Missouri were covered in snow (purple). (Image/MoDOT)

This snowstorm has the potential to be one of the biggest snowstorms on record for St. Louis with records dating back into the 1800s.

Static St. Louis Top 5 snowstorms