Iowans are digging themselves out from a snowstorm that’s being followed by blustery and bitterly cold conditions. National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Cogill says northern Iowa received the heaviest amount of snow. "It looks the heaviest snowfall was over north-central and northeastern Iowa…anywhere from four to eight inches is what we’ve had reported to us for totals in those areas," Cogill said. Central Iowa received one to three inches of snow, while southern Iowa generally received an inch or less.
The bigger problem for much of the state is the ice underneath the snow. The slick conditions forced dozens of schools to either cancel or delay the start of classes. Strong winds are now expected to add to the hazardous driving conditions. Cogill says the worst conditions for blowing snow will be along and north of Highway 30. "We’re going to see north winds at 15 to 30 miles an hour, with higher gusts. So, that will certainly produce some blowing snow especially out in the rural and open areas," Cogill said. The winds are not expected to reduce visability as much in central and southern Iowa, but could still make the roads slick.
The cold air mass that’s blowing in behind the snow will produce some of the lowest temperatures of the season. Cogill says readings in northern Iowa could drop below zero overnight, while other parts of the state will hit the single digits. The Department of Transportation is urging motorists to be both cautious and patient. The de-icing chemicals that are dumped on roads are not as effective with the windy and extremely cold conditions.