It’s been a while since we’ve made any forecast postings. I opted to avoid any posts on miniscule threats for severe weather and/or snow. But this week, is different. This week a storm system is expected to develop that could have major impacts on Iowa and the rest of the central United States.
We begin with the what. A cold front will set up across Missouri and become the focal point of the development of a new and strong center of low pressure. This low is currently expected to track near the Saint Louis area into Indiana. This puts Iowa in the NW quadrant of the storm system and in the path of some of the heaviest snow. Now is a good time to mention this forecast is VERY subject to change over the next 72 hours. Any deviation in timing and track will greatly affect the potential for snow.
At this time, the simple way of explaining this is Iowa, especially the eastern half, are in line to get snow. Actual totals could be light or very heavy. Anywhere from 1”-10” depending on the track of the storm and intensity. At this time it appears the heaviest accumulations in Iowa will occur along the Mississippi River with lighter accumulations to the west. No matter how much falls, a strong center of low pressure will also lead to strong, gusty winds that could produce a blowing snow threat.
So when will this all happen? Conditions should begin to deteriorate late Wednesday, with snow and wind increasing as we move into Thursday. So now is the time to start paying attention to the forecasts and also to make the proper preparations. Snow could greatly impact travel in the eastern half of Iowa. Strong winds could not only produce blowing and drifting snow but also reduce visibilities, even perhaps leading to blizzard conditions.
So now is the time to prepare. If you have travel plans during the latter half of this week, keep up to speed on the latest forecast and track of the snow. As the storm arrives, monitor area road conditions, check DOT travel cameras and determine if you must still travel. And above all, if you do venture out, always have a survival kit in your car. During the worst storms, drivers run the risk of becoming stranded for several hours.