Many Iowans went to bed Monday night hearing predictions of 1”-2” in central Iowa and 6”-9” in Southeast Iowa. When they woke up Tuesday morning, many found out that something happened to the storm overnight. The snow started falling during the Tuesday morning commute and continued through the morning hours on Wednesday. The question has now turned from, how much snow are we going to get, to why did we end up with more snow then what was originally forecasted?
While forecasting storms has come a far way over the past few decades, nothing is ever flawless. This winter storm was forecasted to move through the Oklahoma panhandle, continue to the East, and then slide up towards central Indiana. What actually happened was the forecast models were off by a hundred miles and so when the storm left the Oklahoma panhandle, it started moving to the Northeast towards the St. Louis area. Another factor that was not expected was a big surge of moisture entered the state. Combining the more Northern track of the storm and a larger moisture supply, this resulted in moderate to heavy snowfall across central and Eastern Iowa.
In the end, this storm has left snowfall totals in the Eastern two thirds of the state from 7”-12” with a few areas receiving over a foot. Things will quiet down for a bit until our next chance of snow on Monday.