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First blizzard of the season blasts Iowa with snow, wind

News, Weather

December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Heavy snow’s already on the ground from the first major snowstorm of the season. Several counties in central Iowa report more than a foot of snow while a cluster of counties in northeast Iowa have nearly 11 inches. In Atlantic, we received 7-inches of snow outside the KJAN studios from 3-pm Wednesday through 7-a.m. today (Thursday).

National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Skow says the blizzard is beginning to ease.  “At this point, the storm is starting to pull slowly away from the state but we still have widespread snow across most of Iowa,” Skow says. “That should slowly taper off during the mid-to-late morning hours from west to east.” If you think you heard thunder last night — you did, and there was lightning, too. That’s “thundersnow,” according to Skow.

“Thundersnow is not terribly uncommon with these very strong systems,” he says. “And you have very strong winds. It’s a very strong system and that’s what led to that thundersnow.” While the snow is starting to lessen in western and central Iowa, Skow says another threat will remain through this afternoon.

“The big story today will be the winds,” he says. “We’re expecting strong winds, 30-40 miles per hour or even 50 to 60 mph wind gusts which will blow that snow around and create hazardous travel conditions.” Snowfall totals show three deep areas in the state — near Council Bluffs, around Des Moines, and between Dubuque and Waterloo. The deepest report is 13-point-1 inches, just north of Des Moines.

(Radio Iowa)

Governor orders state office to close until noon


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Officials are closing all state offices until noon because of a powerful storm that has buried much of Iowa in deep snow.  Gov. Terry Branstad announced Thursday morning that state employees and the public should remain home until the worst of the storm passes through the state.   Office will open at noon.

The storm piled up nearly a foot of snow in some parts of Iowa, and high winds are expected to continue throughout the day.

Atlantic P-D warns of icy roads


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green is urging residents of the community NOT to travel this morning in town, as the roads are 100% snow and ice covered. Travel is not advised unless it is an emergency. Many intersections are ice-covered and dangerous. If you must travel, approach the intersections with caution, and drive slowly elsewhere in town.

Blizzard grounds flights in Omaha, Des Moines

News, Weather

December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Blizzard conditions have forced the cancellation of most flights at airports in parts of Iowa and eastern Nebraska, including Des Moines and Omaha. At Eppley Airfield in Omaha, 23 flights were cancelled Wednesday night and most early-morning flights were cancelled Thursday.  At the Des Moines airport, most flights early Thursday were grounded.

In Cedar Rapids, American and Delta airlines halted flights at the Eastern Iowa Airport until mid-afternoon.

7AM Newscast 12-20-2012

News, Podcasts

December 20th, 2012 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Thousands without power in Nebraska, Iowa


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Thousands of people are without power in eastern Nebraska and across parts of Iowa as a powerful snow storm sweeps the Midwest.  In Iowa, MidAmerican Energy reports that more than 31,000 of its customers are without electricity, including 25,000 in the Des Moines area. More than 6,000 customers are without power in Council Bluffs. Alliant Energy reports a little more than 1,670 customers in southern and parts of western Iowa are without power this morning.

The Omaha Public Power District says more than 36,000 customers in its service areas in eastern Nebraska are without power. The hardest-hit area is in and around Omaha, where 25,000 customers are without electricity. The utility says heavy snow and high winds gusting to more than 50 mph are hampering efforts to restore power in many areas.In Lincoln, NE, television station KOLN reports that many residents are also without power.

Accidents blocking traffic on Hwy 83 and I-80


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation reports Highway 83, one-mile west of Atlantic, was blocked in both directions this morning, due to an overturned semi. Cass County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon says the road is blocked between County Road M-47 and Highway 173 (the Elk Horn Road).

An accident involving a jackknifed semi has Highway 25 east of Casey blocked in both directions, from Interstate 80 to County Road F-56 this morning.

And, an accident on eastbound Interstate 80 two-miles east of the Casey area, has the road blocked this morning (as of 5:45-a.m.). The closure is between Antique Country Drive and Exit 86.

Travel is not advised anywhere in western Iowa this morning due to blowing and drifting snow. Traffic was reported to be moving very slowly in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area along Interstates 80 and 29.

4 arrests in Harlan during the past week


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Harlan Police Department reports four people were arrested over the past week. On Dec. 16th, 18-year old Tabatha Wyatt, of Harlan, was arrested for Driving Under Suspension, following a traffic stop. The previous day, 18-year old Damon Germann, of Council Bluffs, was arrested on Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charges.

His arrest took place following an investigation into an accident which occurred at the intersection of 8th and Market Streets in Harlan. Officials say Germann failed to stop at the intersection and collided with a vehicle driven by Randal Musich, of Harlan. The accident caused $1,500 damage to Germann’s 2001 Chevy, but no damage was reported to Musichs’ 2003 Ford.

On Dec. 13th, 24-year old Kurtis Kobold, of Kirkman was arrested on an active Shelby County warrant for violating a No Contact order. Kobold was taken into custody after an altercation with police. His bond was set at $100,000.

And, on Dec. 11th, 19-year old Kaitlyn Stessman, of Defiance, was charged with two felony counts of forgery, after a complaint was filed following an investigation into forged checks belonging to Michael Christensen, of Harlan. A judge dismissed the charges that same day. The previous day, Stessman pled guilty to a reduced charge of 3rd degree theft. She was sentenced to 90-days in jail, with all but 38 days suspended, plus payment of court costs and fees.

Bluffs shooting under investigation


December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Police in Council Bluffs are investigating a shooting incident which occurred late Wednesday morning. According to the police report, at around 11:35-a.m., a Council Bluffs Police Officer noticed a vehicle driving recklessly, and stopped the vehicle in the 700 block of 7th Avenue. A passenger in the vehicle, 25-year old Charles E. Duncan, of Council Bluffs, approached the officer and said he’d been shot in the chest. Duncan was transported to Creighton Hospital.

An investigation revealed Duncan and his sister were test driving a car earlier, and had stopped in the parking lot of Goofy’s Bar and Grill in the 800-block of south 21st Street. When they went to switch drivers, Duncan was shot as he exited the passenger side of the vehicle and began walking toward the driver’s side. The shooting occurred when a car pulled into the parking lot and one of the occupants fired two shots at Duncan.

The first shot hit him in the bottom of his right sleeve, and did not result in any injuries. The second shot struck Duncan in the right side of his chest. His injuries were not believed to be life threatening. Duncan’s sister was attempting to get to him a hospital when she was stopped by police.

The suspect vehicle was described as being a small, black, newer model car with Nebraska plates. The suspects were slightly overweight white men in their 20’s. One of the men had a beard. Their vehicle took off after the shooting, traveling north on 21st Street. Neither Duncan nor his sister knew who the men were.

(updated 4:54-a.m.) Midwest hit by its first major snowstorm of season

News, Weather

December 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Forecasters are warning that the Midwest’s first major snowstorm of the season could cause blizzard conditions this morning from Kansas to Wisconsin. And there are predictions that some areas in a swatch stretching from northwest Missouri, into Milwaukee, Chicago and Michigan could get as much as much as a foot of snow. The conditions could threaten operations at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. A Blizzard Warning remains in effect until Noon today, for much of Iowa.

Heavy overnight snow has forced some school districts in Nebraska and Iowa to close. Drivers in Nebraska have been told to avoid treacherous roads. In western Kansas, some tractor trailers jackknifed or tipped. A clerk at a travel center in the town of Tribune says a stranded UPS driver had to spend the night with a family.

One meteorologist says the snow is a nuisance, but the moisture is welcomed by farmers in the drought-parched region. Some areas are more than 12 inches below normal precipitation for the year.

Some businesses in the KJAN listening area are either closed or will be starting late. Please see the “Cancellations” section under the “Community Hub” tab on KJAN. com for updates throughout the day. The snow will be tapering-off early this morning, with reports in western Iowa thus far ranging from 3-to 6-inches. Drifts of up to nearly a foot were common in the open areas, as well.