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ST. LOUIS) – Czech Republic Hockey announced today their 25-man roster that will compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Making his first Olympic appearance will be Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka.
      Sobotka, 26, will be representing the Czech Republic for the 3rd time in his career.  Previously, the Trebic, Czech Republic native appeared in the 2006 and 2007 World Junior Championships, and was named the Czech Republic’s Second Star at the end of the 2007 tournament. This season, the 5’10”, 197-pound forward is eighth on the Blues among forwards with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 35 games.
     The Czech team was eliminated by Finland in the quarter-finals at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, finishing seventh in the tournament. They will play in Group C alongside Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland.

No. 1 Florida State beats No. 2 Auburn 34-31

Monday, 06 January 2014 23:34 Published in Sports
 
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- Jameis Winston threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left and No. 1 Florida State beat No. 2 Auburn 34-31 to win the last BCS national championship game on Monday night.
 
Winston struggled much of the night but was near perfect when the Seminoles (14-0) needed it most, going 6 for 7 for 77 yards on the game-winning 80-yard drive. A pass interference penalty on Auburn's Chris Davis gave Florida State a first-and-goal at the 2 and on the next play Winston hit his big receiver for the touchdown.
 
"I said this from Day 1 in spring ball. These kids are special," coach Jimbo Fisher said. "This group never faltered. They wanted to be elite. They wanted to go to the top and there's so much character in this group."
 
Tre Mason had given Auburn (12-2) a 31-27 lead with a 37-yard touchdown run with 1:19 left after Kermit Whitfield had put Florida State in the lead for the first time since the first quarter with a 100-yard kickoff return to make it 27-24 with 4:31 left.
 
Mason ran for 195 yards.
 
Winston was 20 for 35 for 237 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
 
Nick Marshall ran for a touchdown and threw scoring passes to Mason and Melvin Ray in the first half, and Auburn led 21-13 after three quarters.
 
All-America kicker Roberto Aguayo's second field goal of the night accounted for the only third-quarter points for either team as both defenses took charge after a frenetic first half.
 
The powerful Seminoles trailed by 18 points in the second quarter and 21-10 at halftime, but picked up momentum in the third quarter with solid defensive play and improvements by Winston, who was fighting a case of big-game jitters.
 
The Heisman Trophy-winning freshman went 6 for 15 for 62 yards in the first half on his 20th birthday, with a key fumble setting up Marshall's 4-yard TD run 5:01 before halftime. Winston also led a 66-yard scoring drive late in the first half and consistently moved Florida State in the third quarter - but with only three points to show for it.
 
After trailing for the first time in any game since Sept. 28, Florida State needed a big finish to become the first team to rally from a halftime deficit to win the BCS title game.
 
Marshall, Winston's relatively unheralded counterpart, looked sharp in the Auburn backfield. Auburn was the nation's top rushing team, but coach Gus Malzahn showed the SEC champs can fling it as well while racking up 232 yards of offense in the first half.
 
Mason caught a 12-yard TD screen pass in the first quarter, and Ray ran alone down the middle with a 50-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
 
Devonta Freeman had a 3-yard scoring run with 1:28 left in the half for Florida State, which faced its largest deficit and first halftime deficit of the season.
 
Auburn's 85-yard drive early in the second quarter ended with a TD catch for Ray, the former minor league baseball player from Tallahassee who had just four receptions in the regular season. Florida State's Jalen Ramsey failed to pick up Ray all alone down the middle. Ray juked a defender near the goal line and scored as the Tigers' fans rocked the Rose Bowl stands with cheers.
 
Auburn's Angelo Blackson then swatted the ball out of Winston's hand on a run moments after the Tigers missed a field goal, and Marshall finished the drive by turning the corner on Florida State's defense for a score.
 
A successful fake punt finally sparked the Seminoles moments later. Winston made a 21-yard run complete with a vicious stiff-arm to Auburn's Kris Frost, and Freeman scored on the next play, trimming Auburn's halftime lead to 21-10.
 
Auburn was making its second BCS championship game appearance after beating Oregon for the title four years ago behind Heisman winner Cam Newton. The Tigers went 3-9 last season, but Malzahn quickly returned them to the national spotlight.
 
The Seminoles had run over every opponent in their path to a third national title, but Fisher's team was tested in Pasadena.
 

'POLAR VORTEX' PUSHES SUBZERO TEMPS INTO MIDWEST

Monday, 06 January 2014 07:29 Published in National News

CHICAGO (AP) — A whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a "polar vortex" descended Monday into much of the U.S., pummeling parts of the country with a dangerous cold that could break decades-old records with wind chill warnings stretching from Montana to Alabama.

For a big chunk of the Midwest, the subzero temperatures were moving in behind another winter wallop: more than a foot of snow and high winds that made traveling treacherous. Officials closed schools in cities including Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee and warned residents to stay indoors and avoid the frigid cold altogether.

The forecast is extreme: 32 below zero in Fargo, N.D.; minus 21 in Madison, Wis.; and 15 below zero in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Chicago. Wind chills — what it feels like outside when high winds are factored into the temperature — could drop into the minus 50s and 60s.

"It's just a dangerous cold," said National Weather Service meteorologist Butch Dye in Missouri.

It hasn't been this cold for almost two decades in many parts of the country. Frostbite and hypothermia can set in quickly at 15 to 30 below zero.

Between a heater that barely works and the drafty windows that invite the cold air inside his home, Jeffery Davis decided he'd be better off sitting in a doughnut shop for three hours Monday until it was time to go to work in downtown Chicago.

So he threw on two pairs of pants, two t-shirts, "at least three jackets," two hats, a pair of gloves, the "thickest socks you'd probably ever find" and boots, and trudged to the train stop in his South Side neighborhood that took him to within a few blocks of the library where he works.

"I never remember it ever being this cold," said Davis, 51. "I'm flabbergasted."

One after another, people came into the shop, some to buy coffee, others, like Davis, to just sit and wait.

Giovannni Lucero, a 29-year-old painter, said he was prepared for the storm. To keep his pipes from freezing, he'd left the faucet running and opened the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let the warm air in his house reach the pipes.

"We stocked up yesterday on groceries because you never know," Lucero said.

And he was reminded on the way to work that he'd make the right decision to buy a four-wheel drive truck. "There were accidents everywhere because of the ice," he said.

Roads were treacherous across the region. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard upgraded the city's travel emergency level to "red," making it illegal for anyone to drive except for emergencies or seeking shelter. The last time the city issued such a travel warning was during a blizzard in 1978.

National Weather Service meteorologist Philip Schumacher urged motorists in the Dakotas — where wind chills were as low as the minus 50s — to carry winter survival kits and a charged cellphone in case they become stranded.

Elnur Toktombetov, a Chicago taxi driver, woke up at 2:30 a.m. Monday anticipating a busy day. By 3:25 a.m. he was on the road, armed with hot tea and doughnuts. An hour into his shift, his Toyota's windows were still coated with ice on the inside.

"People are really not comfortable with this weather," Toktombetov said. "They're really happy to catch the cab. And I notice they really tip well."

For several Midwestern states, the bitter cold was adding to problems caused by a weekend snow storm. The National Weather Service said the snowfall at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport totaled more than 11 inches — the most since the Feb. 2, 2011, storm that shut down the city's famed Lake Shore Drive.

Police in suburban Detroit said heavy snow was believed to have caused a roof to collapse at an empty building in Lake Orion on Sunday evening. No one was hurt. More than 16 inches of snow fell on nearby Flint, Mich.

Missouri transportation officials said it was too cold for rock salt to be effective, and several Illinois roadways were closed because of drifting snow.

More than 1,000 flights were canceled Sunday at airports throughout the Midwest including Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis.

Many cities came to a virtual standstill. In St. Louis, where more than 10 inches of snow fell, the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Art Museum and St. Louis Zoo were part of the seemingly endless list of things closed. Shopping malls and movie theaters closed, too. Even Hidden Valley Ski Resort, the region's only ski area, shut down.

School was called off Monday for the entire state of Minnesota, as well as cities and districts in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Iowa, among others. Chicago Public School officials reversed an earlier decision to keep schools open, announcing late in the day Sunday that classes would be canceled Monday.

Government offices and courts in several states closed Monday. In Indiana, the General Assembly postponed the opening day of its 2014 session, and the state appellate courts, including the Indiana Supreme Court, said they would be closed.

More than 40,000 homes and businesses in Indiana, 16,000 in Illinois and 2,000 in Missouri were without power early Monday.

Ray Radlich was among the volunteers at New Life Evangelistic Center, a St. Louis homeless shelter, who braved the cold to search for the homeless and get them to shelters.

Among those Radlich and his team brought in Sunday was 55-year-old Garcia Salvaje, who has been without a home since a fire at his apartment last week. Salvaje, a veteran, had surgery three months ago for a spinal problem. The cold makes the pain from his still-healing back intense.

"I get all achy and pained all the way up my feet, to my legs, up my spine," Salvaje said.

Southern states were bracing for possible record temperatures, too, with single-digit highs expected Tuesday in Georgia and Alabama.

Temperatures plunged into the 20s early Monday in north Georgia, the frigid start of dangerously cold temperatures for the first part of the week. The Georgia Department of Transportation said its crews were prepared to respond to reports of black ice in north Georgia.

Temperatures were expected to dip into the 30s in parts of Florida on Tuesday. Though Florida Citrus Mutual spokesman Andrew Meadows said it must be at 28 degrees or lower four hours straight for fruit to freeze badly, fruits and vegetables were a concern in other parts of the South.

With two freezing nights ahead, Louisiana citrus farmers could lose any fruit they cannot pick in time.

In Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, Ben Becnel Jr. estimated that Ben & Ben Becnel Inc. had about 5,000 bushels of fruit on the trees, mostly navel oranges and the sweet, thin-skinned mandarin oranges called satsumas.

"We're scrambling right now," he said.

___

Associated Press writers Julie Smyth in Columbus, Ohio; Tom Coyne in Indianapolis; Jim Salter in St. Louis; Brett Barrouquere in Louisville, Ky.; Verena Dobnik in New York City; David N. Goodman in Berkeley, Mich.; Ashley M. Heher and Don Babwin in Chicago; and Christine Amario in Miami contributed to this report.

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