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9AM Newscast 03-11-2013

News, Podcasts

March 11th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Iowa Road Conditions Improve

News

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – March 11, 2013 – 9 a.m. update – Travel conditions in west and northeast Iowa improve as the storm moves out of Iowa. The National Weather Service’s forecast includes blustery northwest winds from 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph, through this afternoon.

Current Iowa road conditions: The 511 system is currently reporting roads in the Correctionville, Denison and Ida Grove areas are now open. Iowa 10 near Peterson is expected to be open before noon. Iowa 141 between Iowa 75 near Mapleton and Iowa 183 near Ute is reduced to one lane due to blowing snow. Roads in western and northeast Iowa are partially to completely snow covered.

Don’t Crowd the Plow:The Iowa DOT reminds the public that sharing the roadways with slow-moving snow removal equipment requires drivers to exercise extra precautions.

If you plan to travel today: Make sure a winter survival kit or emergency supplies are stowed in your vehicle with sufficient resources for all passengers. A mobile phone should also be carried for emergency use only. Don’t talk, take photos/video or text while driving. Persons should continue to exercise caution when traveling as the pavement can go quickly from wet to icy due to the snow blowing across the roadways. East-west roadways are particularly vulnerable.

Become a part in Iowa’s traffic information social network.
The Iowa DOT continues to urge motorists to provide feedback on travel conditions via Twitter and Facebook, while stopped in a safe location and not while driving.

  • Geotag photos and video: All smartphones have a global positioning system because of enhanced 911 service. If you are a social media user who likes to share photos and video during winter storms, be sure the geotagging feature on your mobile device is enabled. Then the location of where your photo/video was taken will be tagged.
  • Follow us: All traffic-related news releases and traffic incident reports are posted on the Iowa DOT’s Twitter accounts. Search for either @iowadot or @statewideia511.
  • Use the traffic hashtag: The Iowa DOT is using the hashtag #iatraffic during this event and recommends that other Twitter users do the same to find relevant tweets using that key phrase.
  • Tell us what you are seeing: Your information could be invaluable to others who are considering travel. You can also be another set of eyes for the Iowa DOT. When posting to Twitter, reference @iowadot in your post. Tag us in your posts and photos on Facebook.

The Iowa DOT offers travel information anytime by visiting http://www.511ia.org/or calling 511 (within Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide).

8AM Newscast 03-11-2013

News, Podcasts

March 11th, 2013 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Motorists Reminded to Be Cautious on Iowa Roads

News

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa – March 11, 2013: 7 a.m. update – The Iowa Department of Transportation reminds motorists to exercise extreme caution during the morning commute and while otherwise traveling today. Iowa travel conditions are expected to improve late this morning and into the afternoon in the western and northeast sections of Iowa as the storm moves out of the state. Snowfall and strong north-northwest winds have made it difficult for travelers in western and northeast Iowa.

Iowa’s 511 system is currently reporting that roadways in the Correctionville, Denison, Peterson,  and Ida Grove areas are impassible. Roads in western and northeast Iowa are partially to completely snow covered. Travel remains hazardous along Interstates 29 and 80 in western Iowa, and also east of Mason City and north of Waterloo. The Iowa DOT’s reminds the public that sharing the roadways with slow-moving snow removal equipment requires drivers to exercise extra precautions.

The Winter Storm that caught many motorists by surprise and left many stranded and seeking shelter, also resulted in numerous accidents and road closures along a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 80 in eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa. Accidents that took place Sunday on I-80 two-miles east of Shelby and another near Walnut, blocked traffic in both directions for hours. 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. A person answering the phone this (Monday) morning at the Y, said 5 people sought shelter at the facility. All but one of them were still there as of 7:30-a.m., the other person left in their personal vehicle.

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.

Snowfall report (as of 7-a.m. Monday)

News, Weather

March 11th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Snowfall in Atlantic at the KJAN studios over the past 24-hours ending at 7-a.m. amounted to 5-inches. The translates into a liquid value of .4″.  Unofficial reports said Audubon had 8 inches of snow, Avoca 9 inches.  Here’s the Iowa Mesonet graph of estimated snowfall amounts….

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

News

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.