Iowa’s fleet of snow plows and trucks is ready for the first big statewide blast of winter.
Iowa Department of Transportation winter operations administrator Craig Bargfrede says the approaching storm is expected to start dumping snow this afternoon and may not completely quit until Tuesday evening. Bargfrede says he’s seeing forecast models that call for perhaps a foot of snow — or more — in parts of southern and eastern Iowa. “The track of the storm has continued to shift northward and by doing that, it’s going to impact all of the state of Iowa,” Bargfrede says. “Our crews have been monitoring the forecast and have been out, getting equipment ready and making sure we’re all set to go once the snow starts flying.”
A Winter Storm Warning is posted for 92 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Only an area of north-central Iowa may see lesser amounts of snow.
Bargfrede says multiple state agencies are working together to prep for this storm. “We actually had a statewide coordination call yesterday afternoon with our district staff, the State Patrol, the governor’s office, Homeland Security,” Bargfrede says, “just to make sure we’re all on the same page as far as what we’re seeing in the forecast and preparations and planning that needs to be done ahead of this storm.”
It’s not just about clearing the roads during the storm, but Bargfrede says there’s also the challenge of cleaning up what’s been shoved to the side of the roads.
“Especially when we’re talking about the amount of snow that we’re forecasted to get, and then follow that with some pretty significant winds on Tuesday going into Wednesday,” Bargfrede says. “Even though they’re forecasting this to be a heavier, wetter snow, we’re still anticipating a lot of visibility blowing and drifting issues.”
One plus, he says, is that there’s little-to-no snow on the ground now, so there’s plenty of storage space available in ditches and in right-of-ways.