As Iowans bask in the unseasonably warm weather with highs in the 40s and 50s, forecasters say to enjoy it while you can. Another winter storm is expected to bring more colder temperatures and more snow this weekend. Extension climatologist Al Dutcher says perhaps two more snowstorms are stacked up behind the first one, which may arrive Saturday or Sunday.
Dutcher says, "After we dig out of this one, we may be faced with another system coming down its heels as we get into the first part of March and then another system is advertised as we get into next weekend and potentially the early part of the week following. It looks like a very active weather pattern and March does appear to be coming in like a lion." He says the first storm system has the potential to arrive with strong gusty winds and blizzard-like conditions.
Dutcher says "You might see a little bit earlier severe weather activity. It’s really hard from the statistics to tell whether or not you’re going to see an increase in tornadic activity." Temperatures have been very cold in recent weeks, creating thick ice on the state’s lakes and rivers. Dutcher says this week’s mini-heat wave could soon lead to flooding problems on the waterways.
He says, "As temperatures warm up, we’re going to see the ice start to break up. If we add precipitation on top of it this weekend in the form of rain early and then snow, we should see some ice jam problems also. We’re going to see, with the ground still a bit frozen, if it doesn’t thaw out completely by this weekend, we’re going to see with this rain a considerable amount of runoff." Late last year, forecasters said the "El Nino" weather pattern could go into May, meaning a lot of precipitation, but El Nino died out.
Dutcher says more heavy snowpack could help the soil in some of the areas of the state that have suffered from drought.