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Late-winter storm leaving Iowa, Nebraska

News, Weather

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Authorities are discouraging travel in eastern Nebraska and much of Iowa western Iowa as a late-winter storm heads east.  Portions of Iowa Highway 141 and U.S. highways 59, 30 and 20 in western Iowa were reported impassable on Monday. But Interstates 80 and 29 are open for traffic.

Sections of both interstates were closed for a time on Sunday as heavy snow was blown by strong winds, creating whiteout in many spots. Officials reported several multiple-car accidents Sunday along a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 80 that runs east and west through the two states.

Winter Storm Continues to Impact Iowa’s Roadways

News, Weather

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – March 11, 2013; 5 a.m. update – The slow-moving winter storm will continue to impact roadways in portions of Iowa through this morning. The Iowa Department of Transportation’s WeatherView system is presently reporting north-northwest winds of 16 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Snow is also continuing to fall along a line from Council Bluffs through Boone, Mason City and to the Minnesota state line.

A winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect in until 7 a.m. For much of central and north central Iowa; a winter weather advisory remains in effect for Iowa. North-northwest winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts near 45 mph are expected to cause blowing snow, reducing visibility to less than one-half mile at times.

Iowa’s 511 system is presently reporting that roadways in the Correctionville, Denison and Ida Grove areas are impassible. Roads in western and northeast Iowa are partially to completely covered snow covered. Travel remains hazardous along Interstates 29 and 80 in western Iowa, and also east of Mason City and north of Waterloo.

Unsafe conditions for snowplow operators in keeping roadways open caused the many of Iowa DOT’s maintenance garages to suspend operations across the state. Operations in these areas are scheduled to resume as day light appears and as the wind conditions lessen.

Motorists should exercise extreme caution during the morning commute and while otherwise traveling this morning. Remember, “Don’t Crowd the Plow,” and make sure to carry appropriate winter survival items in your vehicle.

For Iowa road condition information, visit http://www.511ia.org/; call 511 in Iowa or 800-288-1047 nationwide; or visit Twitter @iowadot or @statewideia511. Use the hashtag #iatraffic when tweeting about this winter storm.

Atlantic City Council to hold special session Wednesday


March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council will hold a special session this Wednesday evening, March 13th. The meeting takes place in the Atlantic Senior Center, beginning at 5:30-p.m.  During the session, the Council will act on a resolution awarding a contract to Dostals Construction Company, of Gretna, NE, for reconstruction of the tennis courts at Sunnyside Park. Dostal’s low bid for the project was $259,000.

The Council will also hold a public hearing and act on a Resolution pertaining to adoption of the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Budget. The budget amounts to slightly more than $9.43-million dollars, which is down $3.71-million, or 28.2-percent, from the FY 2013 revised estimate of $13.1-million.The proposed budget will require a 48-cent increase per $1,000 of taxable valuation, or just under 2.5-percent. The proposed estimated total tax levy on regular property would be $17.68 per thousand, while the rate on agricultural land would be $3.00 per thousand.

City Administrator Doug Harris attributes the increase to the City’s Debt Service costs. Harris says the budget is relatively flat when adjustments are made for such items as the completion of the wastewater treatment plant improvements and a County Communications grant that was hosted by the fire department.

The Council will also act on approving a Resolution authorizing the use of a preliminary official statement in connection with the sale of General Obligation Corporate Purpose Bonds, series 2013-A, as it pertains to the hearing and pre-levy action taken by the Council on February 20th. Doug Harris is working with the City’s bonding agent to put together the required financial information prior to Wednesday’s meeting. The planned par amount of the bond issue remains at $2.72-million.

Assuming the Council approves the official statement during its meeting Wednesday, the next step is for them to consider on March 20th, a Bond Purchase Agreement, to lock in interest rates.

Des Moines Register lays out the full RAGBRAI Route

News, Sports

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Des Moines Register, on Sunday, released more details on the 2013 RAGBRAI route, including those cities which the bicyclists will roll through, but not stay overnight. As mentioned earlier, the throngs of bicyclists begin Sunday, July 21st, by dipping their wheels in the Missouri River at Council Bluffs. From there, they will travel through the unincorporated town of Weston, and then on to Underwood, Neola, Minden, Shelby and Tennant. The first day’s leg of the journey ends with an overnight stay in Harlan.

When the bikers roll out Monday morning on their way to Perry, they’ll pass through Kimballton and Hamlin. Between Harlan and Kimballton, the bicyclists have a chance to make a swing through Elk Horn, as part of  “Karras Loop,” which takes them from Highway 44 down M-47 to County Road F-58 and back up to Highway 44.The Karras Loop was named for RAGBRAI Co-founder, John Karras.

Then it’s on to Guthrie Center, Springbrook State Park and Yale, before they roll into Dallas County. The journey ends on Saturday, July 27th, at the Mississippi River in Lee County, near Ft. Madison. The route is just under 407 miles long and the 15th flattest in RAGBRAI history.

Many roads still impassable in western Iowa early Monday morning

News, Weather

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Winter Storm that caught many motorists by surprise and left many stranded and seeking shelter, also resulted in numerous accidents and road closures. As of 3-a.m. Monday, the Iowa Department of Transportation said roads along and south of Interstate 80 were completely covered with snow and/or ice. North of I-80, Highway 59, from Harlan all the way north of Highway 20, was completely impassable and whiteout conditions were being experienced. Travel was not advised on Highway 30, between Interstate 29 half-way to Denison, and the road was impassable from the intersection of Highway 37 northeast to Denison. Travel was not advised on I-29 from I-80 to near Sioux City.

Earlier accidents on I-80 two-miles east of Shelby and another near Walnut, blocked traffic in both directions for hours, Sunday. There were injuries reported, but none appeared to have been serious. The accident near Shelby involved several semis and cars. In Cass County, deputies worked to shuttle motorists to area hotels as quickly as possible. When the hotels became full, the Nishna Valley YMCA in Atlantic opened its doors as an emergency shelter. There was no word early Monday morning on how many motorists were being housed there.

Several schools have cancelled or delayed the start of classes for today. For the latest road information, go to 511ia.org, or call 511. Outside of Iowa, call 1-800-288-1047.

I-29 Northbound in Harrison County Reopened: One Lane Southbound Still Closed


March 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – March 10, 2013; 6 p.m. update – The northbound lanes of Interstate 29 in Harrison County, near exit 95 (Little Sioux), have reopened to traffic. One southbound lane in this same area remains closed at this time. Heavy snow and strong winds are still making travel hazardous along I-29 and I-80 in western Iowa, so motorists should continue to exercise caution and postpone their trip if possible.

Check road conditions by visiting http://www.511ia.org; calling 511 in Iowa or 800-288-1047 nationwide; or follow all of the traffic alerts and travel news on Twitter @iowadot or @statewideia511.

I-80 Westbound Remains Blocked in Pottawattamie County


March 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – March 10, 2013 – 6:35 p.m. update – Eastbound Interstate 80 between Shelby (exit 34) and Avoca (exit 40) in Pottawattamie County has reopened to traffic; however, the the westbound lanes remain closed. This segment of the interstate has been impacted by the high winds and snow, which contributed to several multiple vehicle crashes. The Iowa Department of Transportation and emergency response agencies are on the scene working to clear the incidents as quickly as possible, but several semi-tractor trailer units are involved which is making it difficult. There are multiple tow trucks on the scene. A detour remains in place for westbound travelers using U.S. 59 (exit 40) north, Iowa 44 west and Pottawattamie County Road M-16 south through Shelby.

Motorists who have been stuck in the traffic for several hours in the westbound lanes are now being redirected by law enforcement on the scene to the nearest exit and onto the detour route. Snow has been making its way eastward across the state and has now entered areas east of I-35. According to the Iowa DOT’s road weather information system, sustained winds of 20-30 mph are reported west of I-35, with gusts reaching 40 mph. Slick road conditions and limited visibility at times can be expected.

For Iowa road condition information, visit http://www.511ia.org; call 511 in Iowa or800-288-1047 nationwide; or visit Twitter @iowadot or @statewideia511. Use the hashtag #iatraffic when tweeting about this winter storm.

School Cancellations and delays have been reported for Monday, March 11th


March 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Area schools are delaying or cancelling classes altogether for Monday, March 11th, due to the snow storm. Please see the KJAN Cancellations page under Community Hub on our website.  Check back frequently, as the information will be updated as soon as it is received.

Clarinda Woman arrested on drug charge


March 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest Sunday, of 26-year old Megan D. Reynolds, of Clarinda. Reynolds was taken into custody on a warrant for unlawful possession of a prescription drug. She was being held in the Montgomery County Jail on $1,000 bond.

Gusty Winds and Heavy Snow affecting Travel Today in Iowa


March 10th, 2013 by Chris Parks

March 10, 2013: 3:35 p.m. update – Iowa roadways are already being impacted by a major winter storm that is bringing with it very strong winds and heavy snow. Interstate 80 is presently blocked in both directions between exits 34 and 40 (Shelby to Avoca in Pottawattamie County) and I-29 northbound is blocked near exit 95 (Little Sioux in Harrison County). Both blockages are the result of multiple vehicle crashes. Another accident near the Cass Pottawattamie County line has traffic blocked in both directions.

Interstate travelers should be advised that westbound Interstate 80 in Nebraska is also closed at Lincoln, Nebr., mile marker 395.

Several winter storm warnings have been issued that affect a majority of counties in Iowa, except for the far southeast corner of the state. This storm is not expected to exit Iowa until sometime Monday morning or early afternoon. Predicted snow totals vary by location, but range from as little as 4 inches to as much as 10 inches. With this event, the wind will play a significant factor, regardless of snow totals.

The Iowa Department of Transportation’s road weather information system is reporting increasing wind speeds as the front moves eastward. West central Iowa is presently reporting wind gusts in excess of 40 mph, causing hazardous travel conditions when combined with the heavy snow.

For the latest Iowa road condition information visit http://www.511ia.org/; call 511 in Iowa or 800-288-1047 nationwide; or follow the Iowa DOT on Twitter @iowadot or @statewideia511. Be sure to use the hashtag #iatraffic in your posts.