Forecasted wintery mix could affect your weekend travel plans

News, Weather

December 2nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – Dec. 2, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is closely monitoring the forecast and precipitation models as the agency prepares for a wintery mix of rain/freezing rain/snow across the state. Snow, and perhaps a period of freezing rain, is expected across portions of the state tonight into Saturday as a storm system lifts through the Central Plains. There remains some uncertainty regarding the track of this system, but it appears that most of the southern and eastern parts of Iowa will be warm enough to see rain, while areas in the north and west will receive snow. An average of 5 to 6 inches of snow is possible in a diagonal swath across the state that extends from Decorah to Mason City, Fort Dodge, Carroll and Council Bluffs.

Late Saturday and Saturday night, cold air will begin filtering in on the backside of the system, changing the rain to snow from west to east as the system departs the state Saturday night. Some gusty winds Saturday night into Sunday morning may cause some blowing and drifting snow.

Travelers are advised to check out the latest road conditions before making their trips by visiting www.511ia.org or call 511 (in Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide).

The Iowa DOT will continue to have a presence on all state-maintained highways, as necessary. The department’s goal is to keep all roads passable around-the-clock. The exceptions would be those limited instances when it becomes necessary to close a road for the safety of the traveling public or when snowplows are removed from the roadways because conditions are so severe that it compromises the safety of maintenance personnel. If any of these situations were to occur, the public will be informed.  

Motorists may observe snowplow trucks performing a process called anti-icing prior to a storm, when no snow or ice is present. Applying the salt water brine to the roads makes it easier and quicker to remove snow/ice during and after a storm.

Sanding/deicing/plowing will be performed during and after the storm as needed, with the goal of keeping one lane in each direction passable and providing intermittently bare pavement surface in the main driving lane as soon as possible. Remaining travel lanes and shoulders will be cleared as quickly as possible, as staffing and equipment permit.

(DOT Press Release)