Meteorologist says take precautions when shoveling snow

DES MOINES — For many Iowans, this will be the first snow they’ve shoveled since -last- winter, and the experts say such strenuous exercise can be very hard on the heart.

National Weather Service meteorologist Peter Speck says this snowfall may be particularly difficult to remove from our sidewalks and driveways. “What we’re expecting with this is a lot of moisture with the snow, and what happens with that is, it tends to make the snow a bit heavier, more water content in the snow,” Speck says. “We call that a very low snow ratio here in weather terms, and when we see that, we typically have more weight to the snow.”

It’s recommended you only try to shovel small amounts of snow with each pass, and that you stay hydrated and take plenty of breaks, especially with a heavy, wet snow. “That can make things a bit more difficult for folks who have difficulties with lifting, or who are prone to more issues, such as cardiac issues, to be able to clear that snow,” Speck says. “We do encourage folks to take it easy out there if they do find themselves needing to clear the snow because this will be a bit heavier and wetter nature.”

Temperatures are expected to drop throughout the week, and Speck says another winter storm could be just a few days away. “We’re looking at potentially more accumulating snow,” Speck says. “We’re looking at very, very cold air coming in, temperatures potentially Saturday and Sunday only climbing into the single digits for most of us, and then when you combine any wind, that’s going to produce wind chills below zero, maybe even below minus-20 for some during the overnight hours, especially Saturday night and into Sunday morning.”

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