With the exception of a slight chance of light snow on Thursday, things look calm but cold for the week. That pattern won’t last for long here in Iowa as a major storm system could affect the area as early as Friday night.
A strong storm system is forecast to develop and pass over or relatively near the state. The models range from projecting a modest snow event in parts of Iowa to the potential for blizzard like conditions in some areas. Because this storm is still several days out, it’s still impossible to pinpoint when and where such conditions will exist. Either way, most models are showing a strong system that will affect a large area and much of that area could turn out to be Iowa.
The image to the right depicts what the GFS model expects for Iowa between 6am and Noon Saturday morning. If this image were a reality, portions of eastern Iowa could see more than 4-6”+ of snow in just that period. Storm totals would be much higher. But again, I want to stress this is a computer forecast and can change many times between now and Saturday’s storm.
Here’s a look at a possible scenario. The storm’s center passes just south of Iowa, near the border with Missouri. Heavy snow fall early Saturday morning and into the day produces significant snow totals over much of the state. As the low passes southeast of Iowa, winds could increase and reduce visibilities, create snow drifts and threaten to make travel in some areas impossible. All of this appears likely but it’s too soon to determine if such conditions will occur here in Iowa or somewhere else.
This is a very serious situation and needs to be closely monitored. I would expected by late Wednesday or early Thursday we’ll see some better confidence in exactly what this storm will do. We’ll continue to provide updates in the hours ahead as the models hopefully come into better agreement with this storm system.