This is about as close to worst case scenario as we can get. As we’ve warned all week, this storm system was tough to track and remained unpredictable. That rings very much true this morning. The graphic to the right shows how most of Iowa is now under a Blizzard Warning (counties in red) and this has become a very dangerous situation.
Let’s get down to the meat of this. The storm has tracked further south than any forecaster expected just 12 hours ago. This is bringing the heavy snow threat far into Iowa along with wind gusts later today expected to reach 40-50mph with higher gusts also possible. As I feared after last night’s model runs first indicated this possible shift, many who went to bed last night thinking they’d see a couple of inches at most can likely expect 5”-8” of snow with lesser totals south of Interstate 80. Areas of northern Iowa, especially north of Highway 20, could see snow totals closer to 6”-10” with locally higher amounts.
This is an EXTREMELY dangerous situation that is shaping up as strong winds and light snow will persist through much of the evening and overnight hours. Road shutdowns are likely as many roads will become impassable because of snow drifts. Travel will likely not be recommended over much of the state by this evening. Bottom line, if you don’t have to travel today, DON’T! Conditions may get so bad tonight that rescue crews would not be able to reach you for several hours if you become stranded. If you must venture out, into a rural area later this afternoon or evening, make sure you have a survival kit with you. Take everything you need to make sure you can stay in your car for several hours in case roads become impassable and emergency crews can’t reach you until daybreak.
We will continue to monitor the latest model runs as the changeover to snow is still expected to happen later this morning. And don’t forget we’ll launch our live coverage right here on our website beginning at 10:00am.