A wintry mix of precipitation descended upon Iowa Saturday morning as sleet, snow and rain fell across much of the state.
Interstate-35 in southern Iowa near mile marker 27 was narrowed to one lane in both directions early this morning when a semi went into the median. The Des Moines Airport was closed through early afternoon Saturday as an early-morning flight bound for Chicago slid off the only operating runway. The 44 passengers on board the plane were not injured. The other runway at the Des Moines airport had been closed due to wind conditions.
By midday Saturday, the Iowa Department of Transportation reported roadways in the area between Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 20 in the eastern half of Iowa were, in the DOT’s word, “threatened” by the ice- and slush-covered conditions. As of noon Saturday, Interstate routes where travel was not advised by the Iowa State Patrol included I-80 from U.S. Highway 169 east to the Illinois border; I-35 from the Missouri border north to just north of U.S. Highway 20.
Wind is also an issue for high-profile vehicles. While forecasters say the precipitation will diminish as day dwindles to night, wind speeds in Iowa will pick up to as much as 40 miles per hour. By 10 o’clock, sensors in central Iowa were detecting wind gusts above 25 miles per hour.
A host of activities planned across the state were canceled. The travel conditions may impact some campaign events, too. Former President Bill Clinton’s early afternoon visit to Norwalk was canceled.