Snowy highway

Snowy highway

This is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year but winter weather could ruin Christmas vacation plans for many Iowans.

Brad Small, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says the first of two storm systems is on the way to Iowa now, which could dump one-to-three inches of snow on Iowa’s northern third tonight.

“Unfortunately, this won’t be anywhere near the biggest storm of the week,” Small says. “By Wednesday, Thursday and into Friday, a very potent and strong storm system will move out of the plains and bringing a wide swath of wintery precipitation to the entire state of Iowa.”

Small says the second storm system will bring a mix of winter’s worst ingredients. “It’s going to be a mess,” Small says. “It’s going to change back and forth for several days. We could see sleet, freezing rain, snow. Far southern Iowa may stay rain for a good portion of that but most of the rest of the state will see a combination of snow.”

 The current forecast calls for central and northeast Iowa to get two-to-six inches of snow, while Small says northwest Iowa may get much more, perhaps eight-to-ten inches of snow.

Small says the potential exists for near-blizzard conditions in northwest Iowa, around Sioux City and Spencer. See the full forecast at By the way, winter officially arrives at 11:47 this morning.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City