Ice-coated tree limbs are snapping and falling, ripping out power lines. More than 6,500 homes across Iowa are in the dark.

An Ice Storm Warning covers much of Iowa’s western two-thirds — from Sioux City to Council Bluffs, from Marshalltown to Ottumwa — and all points between.

Rob Koppert, at the Cass County Communication Center in Atlantic, says this latest storm is a disaster.

“There are limbs down virtually everywhere, power lines down virtually everywhere,” Koppert says.

“Trees are crackling and limbs are coming down on power lines and it’s just a complete mess out here.” He says Iowans who can take the day off should. “My recommendation is to just have people stay home,” Koppert says.

“If they do have to go to work or travel, use extra caution and use extra time.” He says with so many street lights out, limbs down and power lines splayed on the slick streets, it’s difficult to get around. Many school districts have closed their doors for the day due to the ice. Pam Brockman is a safety education director and state trooper with the Fort Dodge Iowa State Patrol office — and she’s telling folks to stay put.

Brockman says Interstate 35 is completely covered with ice, as is Highway 20. She says a semi-truck is stuck at the Ellsworth exit on I-35 as it can’t get up the hill. “We’re wanting people to stay off the roadways, if they can,” Brockman says. “If you have to be on the road, drive slow, get your headlights on.”

The Ice Storm Warning is in effect for a large section of Iowa until six o’clock Thursday morning. Some areas of western Iowa report four-tenths of an inch of ice — with more on the way. Travel is not advised for a wide section of western, central and southern Iowa. For details on road conditions, call 511.

The Iowa State Patrol is currently not advising travel on the following roadway segments due to very icy road conditions. Towing services are prohibited within these sections.

  • I-35 from Des Moines south to the Missouri border.
  • I-80 from the Grinnell exit east to Iowa City.
  • U.S. 34 from U.S. 71 east to Iowa 14.
  • U.S. 65 from Indianola south to the Missouri border.
  • U.S. 169 from I-80 south to the Missouri border.

Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic/Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this story.