The concerns are slowly becoming a reality for much of Iowa and the Midwest. If you take a look at the map, you can see a large portion of Iowa now shaded in red instead of pink. This is an area now upgraded to a blizzard warning later today and into tomorrow. Very heavy snow is expected to fall across this region and wind gusts could top 50mph late tonight and into the morning hours of Thursday. I stress again, for anyone venturing outside during this storm this could be a dangerous or life threatening situation!
Current projections now delay the onset of snow and wind slightly from the earlier forecast, but that could change as ample moisture is expected to be in place as this storm system barrels through. The low pressure center responsible for all of this is expected to deepen quickly and substantially tonight, producing those powerful winds.
When all is said and done, much of Iowa could see more than 6” of snow. Areas of eastern Iowa could go higher than a foot of snow as some isolated spots could reach closer to 16”. Regardless of how much falls the real story will be the wind. That much snow coupled with dangerous wind gusts will produce blizzard conditions for several hours that could make travel downright impossible.
Such a scenario could force area road crews to pull their plows off of some roads. Driver who decide to venture out could become stranded. In extreme cases, rescue of stranded drivers may be difficult to impossible. Travel is certainly not recommended during this storm in eastern Iowa tonight and tomorrow morning. If you absolutely must venture out, it is important that you have a winter survival kit in your car to keep you hydrated and warm in the event rescue is not possible for several hours.
Even as the snow and wind subside, cleanup from this storm could take several days. Drifts on area roads could reach several feet, much like previous blizzards this may require heavier equipment than just a plow to cut through. The bottom line is this: there is a real potential for a crippling and paralyzing blizzard over much of eastern Iowa. ALL plans over the next 48 hours will be greatly impacted and everyone should begin adjusting plans or making plans to accommodate that.
We are going to continue to monitor any changes in the forecasts and bring you additional updates as we can. Above all, prepare, warn others and stay safe!