Well, it is December, and this should be expected! The National Weather Service offices all around the state have issued Winter Weather bulletins for the entire state for a major winter storm that is set to enter the state Wednesday afternoon to evening.
Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Storm Watches, and Winter Weather Advisories have been issued all across the state ahead of this dangerous storm. The storm, just coming off the West Coast, will enter the Central Plains Wednesday before making it’s way into the Upper to Middle Mississippi valley late Wednesday night to Thursday Morning.
Rain and some snow will be brought with it in the afternoon hours of Wednesday before rapidly changing to all snow on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.
Along with the snow, another concern is strong winds coming out of the northwest, creating drifting and near-blizzard to blizzard conditions across the area. Winds will be sustained at about 30-40 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph at times. This will create havoc for travelers all across the area, with canceled flights expected throughout the region and white-out conditions on the roads. The “eye of the storm” as I like to call it, or the strongest time of the storm, will be about Thursday at 10AM through the noon hours.
With this, the National Weather Service is on a “teeter-totter” on whether to keep Winter Storm Warnings and Watches for the state or replace them with Blizzard Warnings and Watches.
Now, let’s look at the overall accumulation with this storm. The East Central half of the state will see the worst of the snowfall, with the northwestern section of the state seeing barely anything. But please remember. Though little or lots of snow, winds will still back a punch. Blowing Snow is a hazard nonetheless. The East Central to Northwestern portions of Iowa is looking at totals of nearly a foot of so , Central portion looking at about 7-9″, with totals further northwest being about 2-5″. The North Central portion will be about in the middle of it all, being at about 4-7″.
But please, whatever the totals or winds turn out to be, prepare now! Have a emergency survival kit ready in your car filled with blankets, snacks, a flashlight, and anything you may need if you are caught in a blizzard. We advise you to travel only in the case of emergency, and just stay inside for the day.
We will issue another update if needed later tonight or tomorrow morning.