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.
DENVER (AP) — A storm that has dumped more than a foot of snow in the Rocky Mountains could cause headaches for travelers in the Midwest. Drivers in Iowa and Nebraska are being warned to be careful or stop driving altogether starting Wednesday evening as the first major winter storm of the season heads into the central Plains. Strong winds are expected to create blizzard conditions.
Light snow is also expected at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Thursday and strong winds could make visibility poor. National Weather Service forecaster Jamie Enderlen says that, combined with low clouds, could cause delays at the nation’s second-busiest airport. Delays at Denver’s airport, the fifth-busiest, were averaging 30 minutes because of snow and ice Wednesday. Interstates in Colorado remained open.
COUNTIES: MONONA-HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS-MONTGOMERY-FREMONT & PAGE-
1131 AM CST WED DEC 19 2012
…BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO NOON CST THURSDAY...
…WINTER STORM WARNING IS CANCELLED…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN OMAHA/VALLEY HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD WARNING…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO NOON CST THURSDAY. THE WINTER STORM WARNING HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
LIGHT SNOW WILL SPREAD INTO THE AREA BY LATE AFTERNOON OR EARLY THIS EVENING. THE SNOW COULD BE PRECEDED BY A PERIOD OF LIGHT RAIN OR A WINTRY MIX… ESPECIALLY SOUTHEAST OF COUNCIL BLUFFS…WHICH COULD DELAY THE WORST CONDITIONS UNTIL MID-EVENING. THE SNOW WILL BECOME HEAVY THEN THROUGH LATE EVENING.
WINDS WILL BECOME NORTHEAST AT 15 TO 25 MPH BY EARLY EVENING AND THEN INCREASE TO 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 50 MPH OR HIGHER TOWARD AND AFTER MIDNIGHT. ALTHOUGH VISIBILITIES WILL DROP AS THE HEAVY SNOW DEVELOPS…THEY ARE EXPECTED TO DROP TO NEAR ZERO AS THE WINDS INCREASE.
SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 7 TO 11 INCHES ARE LIKELY.
THE VERY STRONG WINDS AND HEAVY SNOW WILL CREATE BLIZZARD CONDITIONS AND POTENTIALLY CLOSE ROADS. WHITE-OUT CONDITIONS ARE LIKELY AND TRAVEL COULD BECOME IMPOSSIBLE.
In advance of forecasted blizzard conditions in the state, the Iowa Department of Transportation is advising motorists that travel across the majority of Iowa is not advised from 8 p.m. tonight through noon Thursday, Dec. 20th. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning beginning at 6 p.m. tonight and continuing through 6 p.m. Thursday.
In addition to heavy snowfall of 6 to 10 inches, very strong northwest winds (25-35 mph, with gusts exceeding 45 mph) will produce considerable blowing and drifting of snow and blizzard conditions late tonight through Thursday afternoon.
The heaviest snow axis will be along a line from Atlantic to Dubuque. The lowest amounts are expected near the Missouri border. Snow drifts several feet deep will be possible given the strong winds. Visibility at times will be reduced to one-quarter mile or less to whiteout conditions.
The Iowa DOT does not recommend travel during this dangerous winter storm, but if you choose to venture out, take a fully charged cell phone with you. If you become stranded, follow these safety steps.
To discover all the ways in which you can receive 24/7 Iowa traveler information, visit http://511ia.org/.
Several area communities have enacted their Emergency Snow Ordinances.
A Snow Emergency is currently in effect in the City of Cumberland, until Noon on Friday. In Guthrie Center, the Snow Emergency begins Wednesday night, and will remain in effect until the streets are cleared. In Red Oak and Griswold, Snow Emergencies affecting parking on City streets goes are in effect at 6-p.m. Wednesday.
The City of Corning’s Snow Emergency Declaration goes into effect at 8-p.m. Thursday (Dec. 20th). No parking will be allowed on marked snow route streets during the first 12 hours of the Snow Emergency. With the exception of the Corning business district, parking during the first 12-hours on all other streets will be on the South and West side only. For the remainder of the Snow Emergency, parking will be allowed on the North and East side of the street if not prohibited by signs. All “No Parking” signs and direction of travel parking will be enforced.
In Exira, the Snow Ordinance will go into effect tonight (Wednesday). All vehicles will be prohibited from parking on even numbered sides of the street from 7-a.m. Thursday until Noon, and on odd numbered sides of the street from 1-p.m. until 4:30-p.m. Thursday. All vehicles in violation of the ordinance WILL BE towed. Also, all vehicles parked on Washington and Jefferson Streets in Exira’s downtown area, must be parked elsewhere Wednesday and Thursday.
And, the City of Clarinda has declared a Snow Emergency effective 7-p.m. Wednesday through 3-p.m. Thursday. Parking restrictions will be in effect during the duration of the Snow Emergency. Earlier, we announced the City of Lenox‘ Snow Ordinance will be in effect beginning at 6-p.m. Wednesday and lasting until snow plowing operations cease.
Many cell phone users in Iowa received a rude awakening early this (Wednesday) morning. The first official Wireless Emergency Alert was issued in our area, warning residents about a Blizzard Warning….that goes into effect at 6-p.m. Customers of Verizon Wireless may have heard three short blasts at around 4-a.m., representing the Emergency Alert System. Some customers of U-S Cellular in the area report they received neither the alert tones nor text message informing them about the alert.
You may recall we told you back in June, that officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the agency was providing additional tools for federal, state, local officials and others, to alert and warn the public about severe weather.
The Commercial Mobile Alert System, or CMAS, is being used to deliver Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to wireless carriers for distribution to the public. That means your cell phone will receive messages on its screen, similar to a text message, showing the type and time of the alert, along with what type of action will be taken. The alerts will NOT take the place of locations where CODE RED alert systems are in-place, as those systems also handle a wide variety of local emergency situations.
The message will be no more than 90 characters, and will have a unique tone and vibration, indicating a WEA has been received. If an alert is received by your cell phone, you are advised to follow the instructions and seek additional information from local radio, television, NOAA Weather Radio and other official sources for emergency information.
The alerts will be broadcast by cell towers. Any cell phone within range of those specific towers will immediately pick up the signal, provided they are capable of receiving the alerts. The availability of WEA alerts is dependent on the network status of the wireless carriers and handset availability, since not all cell phones receive WEA’s. Check with your cellular carrier to see if WEA alerts are available in your area.
FEMA says as with all new cellular services, it will take time for upgrades in infrastructure, coverage and handset technology, to allow WEA alerts to reach all cellular customers.
Snow plow drivers will be busy over the next couple days with the first major winter storm of the season bearing down on Iowa. Annette Dunn is Winter Operations Manager with the Iowa Department of Transportation. “We have about 900 trucks available and although I don’t think we’ll need them for this winter storm, we do also have snow blowers,” Dunn said. “All of our salt sheds are full at this point statewide and we are ready to go.”
The forecast calls for heavy snow at times and near-blizzard condition across much of the state today into tomorrow. Dunn is advising motorists not to “crowd the plow” and simply slow down when they see any of the DOT’s bright orange vehicles. “Especially with this storm that we have coming, there’s probably going to be some visibility issues and there’s not a snow plow in the world that can help us with visibility issues,” Dunn said. “And you may approach a snow plow very quickly since they’ll be going only about 25 to 40 miles an hour.”
Snow plow operators didn’t log many hours last year thanks to one of the mildest winters in the state’s history. Dunn says DOT workers have still been busy. “We’re are actually out there dealing with frost and trying to prevent frost, so we are using material and staff time,” Dunn said. “The nice weather has allowed us to shift our resources over to some of the maintenance we need to do on roadway system.”
Dunn is reminding motorists, if they must travel in foul weather, to keep the gas tank nearly full, pack an emergency survival kit and carry a fully charged cell phone. Items in the winter survival kit in your vehicle should include booster cables, candles and matches, a flashlight with fresh batteries, extra blankets and warm clothes, nonperishable food items, a can for melting water, and a snow shovel. Motorists can check winter road conditions in Iowa at www.511ia.org or by calling 5-1-1.