Forecast: Winter storm to bring Iowa snow, sleet, ice, rain and more
MASON CITY — Moderate to heavy snowfall is predicted for much of Iowa’s northern third today and into Thursday, while forecasters say a wintery mix of rain, sleet and snow is more likely for much of central Iowa, with just rain to the south. Meteorologist Cory Martin, at the National Weather Service, says the big storm is already starting to make itself known.
“We’re seeing some light rain, light freezing rain and even some light snow nosing into northern Iowa,” Martin says, “and we’re expecting that to gradually pick up and become more widespread through the morning and into the afternoon hours.”
Parts of far northwest Iowa are under a Blizzard Warning, with six to 12 inches of snow possible, while Martin says the northern few tiers of counties may see four to eight inches. Much of Iowa is under some sort of warning or advisory.
“We have a Winter Weather Advisory for a good chunk of central Iowa for a mixed bag of precipitation types that we’re seeing, and if we see freezing rain, possibly up to about two tenths of an inch,” Martin says. “You go a little bit east towards Ames, out to Waterloo, then towards Cedar Rapids, they may see some ice accretions exceeding a quarter of an inch, which could cause some issues especially when combined with with the strong winds.” Wind chill factors by Thursday morning could be in the 20s below zero.
While the forecast sounds daunting for Iowa, it’s even worse to the north, as parts of Minnesota are expecting up to two feet of snow and widespread blizzard conditions. Martin says snowfall could be the heaviest in northwest Iowa’s Lyon and Osceola counties.
“The highest probabilities for snow are going to be in northern Iowa. We may see some heavy snow totals near the Minnesota border and near-blizzard conditions,” Martin says, “but then as you get further south into central Iowa, a little different. We’re looking at more likely to see ice, maybe some sleet, maybe some snow as well.”
The rain and snowfall combined with a glazing of ice could make for very hazardous driving conditions across a wide segment of Iowa.”Either way you cut it, it could turn our roads into a mess and have some difficult travel around the area,” Martin says, “continuing probably through Thursday morning.” Keep up with the changing forecast at weather.gov and if you plan to travel, check road conditions first at 511ia.org.