The first major winter storm of the season left a wide range of snowfall totals across Iowa. Harry Hillaker is the State Climatologist. He says the heaviest snow, 13.8 inches, fell at the National Weather Service office in Johnston. Marshalltown reported 13 inches of snow, while the Des Moines Airport recorded 12.4 inches. Areas of northeast Iowa are also reporting high snowfall totals with 10 inches in Waterloo and up to 11 inches in Dubuque. Meanwhile, many areas of far northwest and southeast Iowa received just 1 to 3 inches snow. Hillaker says this blizzard may be the biggest winter storm to hit Iowa since December 8-9, 2009 — although that event was more widespread.
“A larger area of heavy snow occurred with that December 2009 storm,” Hillaker said. “We had a statewide average of 10.3 inches of snowfall. This current storm will probably end up being around 6 to 6.5 inches for a statewide average.” This storm, like the one in 2009, included high winds that helped knocked out power to tens-of-thousands of Iowans. The National Weather Service reported winds of 40 to 50 miles per hour across much of the state Thursday, with a 60 mile per hour wind gust recorded in Ottumwa. This blizzard could also be compared to a massive winter storm that blanketed Iowa in early January 1996 when nearly 14 inches of snow fell in Des Moines. Hillaker notes there was already a lot of snow on the ground when that storm hit.
“And it was a much colder storm. Temperatures were in the teens when the snow started, so it was a very dry, fluffy snow that drifted very badly compared with this current event as temperatures were near freezing and the snow was a bit stickier,” Hillaker said. The snow that’s on the ground across Iowa won’t be melting anytime soon as high temperatures are expected in the teens to low 30s over the next several days. The next chance for snow arrives early next week, including Christmas Day.
Other snowfall totals for Thursday:
Atlantic: 7.0 inches
Audubon: 7 inches
Carroll: 6 inches
Clarinda: 2.5 inches
Creston: 5.5 inches
Denison: 8 inches
COUNTIES: SAC-CRAWFORD-CARROLL-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-CASS-ADAIR- MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD-346 PM CST THU DEC 20 2012 …WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM CST THIS EVENING...
* SHORT TERM TRENDS...FRESH SNOWFALL WILL BE EASILY LOFTED BY STRONG AND GUSTY NORTHWEST WINDS. WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS AS HIGH AS 50 MPH WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES TO BELOW ONE HALF MILE…ESPECIALLY IN RURAL AREAS.
* WINDS/VISIBILITY…STRONG NORTHWEST WINDS AT 25 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO NEAR 50 MPH. HOWEVER…WINDS WILL SLOWLY SUBSIDE THROUGH THE EVENING.
* IMPACTS…MANY ROADS REMAIN VERY DIFFICULT IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO NAVIGATE. VISIBILITIES IN OPEN AND RURAL AREAS WILL ALSO REMAIN QUITE LOW MAKING TRAVEL DIFFICULT. STRONG WINDS MAY ALSO CAUSE DAMAGE TO SNOW COVERED TREES AND POWER LINES.
COUNTIES: CRAWFORD-CARROLL-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-CASS-ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION- TAYLOR-RINGGOLD-
1158 AM CST THU DEC 20 2012
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM CST THIS AFTERNOON...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DES MOINES HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR LIGHT SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW…WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM CST THIS AFTERNOON.
LIGHT FALLING SNOW ALONG WITH SNOW BEING LOFTED BY WINDS OF 25 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS OF 45 MPH WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES TO BELOW ONE HALF MILE…ESPECIALLY IN RURAL AREAS.
STRONG NORTHWEST WINDS AT 25 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO NEAR 50 MPH. HOWEVER…WINDS WILL SLOWLY SUBSIDE THROUGH THE AFTERNOON.
MANY ROADS REMAIN VERY DIFFICULT IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO NAVIGATE. VISIBILITIES IN OPEN AND RURAL AREAS WILL ALSO REMAIN QUITE LOW THROUGH THE AFTERNOON. USE CAUTION WHEN TRAVELING…ESPECIALLY IN OPEN AREAS. TRAVEL HOWEVER IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED THROUGH MIDNIGHT!
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.
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.
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.
Here’s the latest National Weather Service (Podcast) from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson, and weather data for Atlantic…
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The first major snowstorm to hit the Midwest this season is sweeping across the region, shuttering schools and creating dangerous driving conditions. Forecasters are warning that heavy snowfall coupled with strong winds will create blizzard conditions Thursday from Kansas to Wisconsin. The weather is also threatening to cause delays at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, the nation’s second-busiest airport, ahead of the busy holiday weekend.
Nebraska’s largest school district canceled classes because of heavy overnight snow, as did many districts across Iowa, where drivers are being told to stay off the roads because of whiteout conditions. The heaviest snow is expected across a swath extending from northwest Missouri into Milwaukee, Chicago and Michigan. As much as a foot of snow could fall in some areas.
246 AM CST THU DEC 20 2012 Natl. Weather Service/Des Moines
…BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST TODAY…
* SHORT TERM TRENDS...MODERATE TO AT TIMES HEAVY SNOW WILL CONTINUE OVER THE REGION THOUGH EARLY MORNING. SNOWFALL RATES OF 1 TO 2 INCHES PER HOUR WILL BE COMMON THROUGH THE AREA WITH ADDITIONAL SNOWFALL AMOUNTS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES THROUGH 6 AM CST THIS MORNING. THE WIND WILL INCREASE TO 20 TO 25 MPH WITH BLOWING SNOW BECOMING MORE PREVALENT. OVER THE FAR SOUTH THE PRECIPITATION WILL LINGER AS RAIN FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS.
* STORM TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATION…8 TO 12 INCHES OF SNOW ARE FORECAST BY MORNING..WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS LIKELY. SNOW DRIFTS SEVERAL FEET DEEP WILL OCCUR GIVEN THE STRONG WINDS.
* WINDS/VISIBILITY...NORTHWEST WINDS ARE BECOMING VERY STRONG AND THEY WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE DAY TODAY. SUSTAINED WINDS OF 30 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS OVER 50 MPH ARE LIKELY. BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WILL DEVELOP BY 4 AM WITH BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW LEADING TO WHITEOUT CONDITIONS FOR MUCH OF THE MORNING AND INTO THE EARLY AFTERNOON.
* IMPACTS…LIFE-THREATENING BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ARE DEVELOPING AND WILL CONTINUE THIS MORNING. TRAVEL WILL BECOME DIFFICULT…IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE DUE TO BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW. THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ADVISES NO TRAVEL! POWER OUTAGES MAY BECOME MORE PREVALENT BY MORNING AS HEAVY SNOW IS WEIGHING DOWN TREES AND STRONG WINDS BY MORNING AND AFTERNOON MAY FELL TREES ON POWER LINES…RESULTING IN POWER OUTAGES.
A BLIZZARD WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW WITH STRONG WINDS AND POOR VISIBILITIES ARE LIKELY. THIS WILL LEAD TO WHITEOUT CONDITIONS…MAKING TRAVEL EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. DO NOT TRAVEL. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…HAVE A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT WITH YOU. IF YOU GET STRANDED…STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Heavy snow has begun to fall in parts of Nebraska and Iowa as a powerful storm threatens a swath of the Midwest. The snow started in Atlantic at around 3-p.m. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for southeast and east central Nebraska as well as most of Iowa. Between 8 to 10 inches of snow are expected in Nebraska and 9 to 12 inches of snow are expected in Iowa.
Officials in both states have warned people to stay off the roads during the storm’s heaviest snowfall, which is expected from Wednesday night into Thursday. Sustained winds in Iowa will be up to 30 mph with gusts of up to 50 mph. Nebraska winds will be up to 30 mph with gusts of up to 45 mph.