Winter Invasion of Iowa Imminent

snow_shovel_1 It was only a matter of time folks, and time is running out.  Eastern Iowa faces multiple rounds of winter weather over the next few days.  There’s much to break down so I will try to do my best.  The summary of the week to come… snow, then more snow, then a possible blizzard, then, maybe, more snow.

Monday 6Z 6hr. precip Let’s begin with Sunday evening.  A disturbance pushes through the area with enough moisture to produce anywhere from 1”-4” of snow with locally higher amounts.  As for the timing of this system, it looks late.  Snow might not begin until after 6pm Sunday night or later.

This system is relatively weak and small meaning the snow should wrap up by sunrise on Monday.  But this also means travel to start the week could be difficult as crews work to clean up the overnight snow.

gfs_slp_090m Now for the big kahuna. On Tuesday a strong low pressure system will lift up through the Midwest from our south.  The bad news is the low will pass just south and east of Iowa, putting us on the cold, wrap around side of the storm system.   Warm air on the east side of the low will spill north, but it’s not anticipated to reach Iowa, meaning most if not all precip will fall as snow.

This is bad news, an immense amount of moisture is expected to pass over Iowa.  Depending on snow ratios this could lead to some major accumulations approaching 8+ inches.

gfs_slp_102m You’ll also notice this is a pretty deep low pressure.  All those tight rings around the low translate into strong winds.  On the back side of this system that spells trouble.  With wrap around moisture bringing Iowa the final inches of snow with this system, winds will increase dramatically giving eastern Iowa the threat of blizzard conditions.

All in all a very messy travel week.  It’s almost tradition in recent years that eastern Iowa’s first major storm system comes the second week of December.  This year will be no different.

Another chance of snow comes next weekend, but the threat is unclear because the exact track of the system is uncertain.  At this time it appears this chance is slight and expected snowfall is minimal.  The bigger story is the snowpack Iowa will have on the ground by Thursday.  Combined with cold air spilling down from Canada on the backside of the mid-week storm system, extremely cold temperatures are expected the latter half of the week.  Below zero temperatures are not out of the question.

We will continue to monitor the very latest on these storm systems, including any watches, warnings and advisories that are issued.

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