Delicate Forecast Produces Confusing Advisories

Untitled This is probably not how forecasters at the National Weather Service want their map to look like, but here we are.  With three forecast offices covering central and eastern Iowa, a difference in opinion has produced a veritable rainbow of winter weather issuances. 

We’ll begin with the more prominent color on the map, the light purple covering much of central and southeast Iowa.  This is where the agencies have issued a Freezing Rain Advisory.  This area could see prolonged ice accumulation, but at this time confidence is low that it will reach ice storm criteria of .25”.

The pink areas of northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota and southwest Wisconsin are where offices have issued a Winter Storm Warning.  This is the area under greatest threat for .25” to .50” of ice accumulation.  The reason these offices have opted not to issue an Ice Storm Warning is because of concern some of the precip may, in fact, fall as sleet and not freezing rain.

Which brings us to the dark purple color only for Buchanan, Delaware and Dubuque Counties.  This is where the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities has issued an Ice Storm Warning.  They feel confident that enough precip will fall as freezing rain to constitute the warning.  I want to stress the threat of ice storm criteria accumulations are not confined to that three county area.  Instead, anyone near that area, or under the Winter Storm Warning, should also prepare for an ice storm.

It does not take a lot of ice to produce slick conditions across the state, especially in areas which will take longer to top the 32 degree mark, areas such as northeast Iowa.  To make matters worse, wind gusts will stress trees and power lines already coated with heavy ice and could threaten to cause damage or power outages.  This situation must be closely monitored anywhere freezing rain falls.

Overall, this could turn into a very dangerous situation for travelers or anyone else venturing out on slick sidewalks and roadways.  Remember you can share your photos of this ice storm by emailing [email protected]

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