Much of the state can expect three to seven inches of snow later today through tomorrow just as thousands of Iowans plan to hit the road for the holidays. The head of winter operations for the Iowa Department of Transportation is promising her agency will do everything possible to make sure highways and interstates are clear for motorists.
Annette Dunn says most of the DOT’s 1,200 equipment operators, mechanics and supervisors will be prepared to work – despite the holiday. “We do have a 24-hour operation and we try to take a look at the storm and make sure our snowplow operators are notified when we may need to call them in,” Dunn said. “Our supervisors in the field have been notified and do check the weather…to be able to make those decisions.”
The Iowa DOT utilizes around 900 trucks, 53 motor graders and 11 heavy-duty, self-propelled snow blowers to maintain more than 9,400 miles of roads. Dunn is encouraging Iowans, if possible, to alter their holiday travel plans and leave before the snow flies or after snowplow operators have had plenty of time to clear the roads. “I think it’s really important for people to prepare before they travel – take a look at the weather and road reports, plan ahead, plan to reduce speeds and not use their cruise control during those bad weather times,” Dunn said.
The DOT’s road conditions report is available by calling 511 or online at www.511ia.com. Dunn says the reports are accurate and constantly updated. The 511 system is co-managed by the Iowa DOT and the Iowa State Patrol. “So, that’s actually people on the ground reporting conditions,” Dunn said.
Once the storm passes Friday, cloudy to partly cloudy conditions are forecast for Christmas day and Sunday – with no snow – and highs in the teens to low 20s.