A blizzard warning remains in effect across of Iowa. Snow totals that ranged over one foot in many areas are being whipped around by high winds that are gusting near 50 miles an hour.
Travel is still not advised at this time in most parts of the state. Open, rural areas remain hazardous with whiteout conditions and drifting snow.
There is a tow ban for state highways as Iowa motorists who are braving the elements during this blizzard are finding very difficult driving conditions.
Andy Buffington is the emergency management coordinator for Winnebago and Hancock counties in northern Iowa. Buffington says it’s a good day to stay inside.
“Road conditions are absolutely treacherous right now,” he says. “Travel is 100% not advised. The majority of areas are zero visibility and I literally had to drive with a window open so I could see where the ditch was at.” Buffington says the strong winds are whipping up huge snowdrifts and the going is very slow. He’s telling everyone to stay put.
“It’s an extremely dangerous situation for the traveling public,” he says. “I can’t stress enough the importance that the only time today that it would be necessary to travel while the blizzard is in effect would be if it’s a matter of life and limb.” Buffington says unless there’s a serious medical issue, don’t leave your home.
“You need to make arrangements with your employer, if you have appointments, things like that, so that you don’t get yourself out there,” he says. “If you would get stranded, we have to send — we’d try to send somebody out to assist you but between the time that help can arrive and the time that you’re sitting there, another vehicle could come along and strike a stalled vehicle.” The Radio Iowa affiliate reporter who sent us this story got to work this morning via snowmobile.
Here is an update as of 1 p.m. from the DOT:
Status of DOT maintenance crews operating or pulled from the roadways
District 1 – central Iowa – Williams crew pulled; all other crews are working
District 2 – north central/northeast Iowa – All crews are working
District 3 – northwest Iowa – All crews are working
District 4 – southwest Iowa – All crews are working
District 5 – southeast Iowa – All crews are working
District 6 – east central Iowa – All crews are working
Urgent travel advisories:
I-35: roadway is open, but crews that maintain the route between mile posts 96 and 111 have been pulled. Dangerous driving conditions remain and visibility is very poor. Travel is not advised between Ames (mile post 111) and the Minnesota border
I-80: roadway is open, except for a westbound segment near mile post 175 (Kellogg area) where a number of vehicles are blocking the roadway. Visibility is still limited in many areas and travel conditions are poor.
Individual road closures remain too numerous to list. For the latest road conditions, call 511 (in Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide), or visit www.511ia.org .
Karl Wooldridge, KIOW, Forest City also contributed to this story.