Snowblowers are droning and shovels are scraping concrete as most Iowans are digging out from a weekend that brought heavy snow to much of the state.
Winter Storm Warnings were issued from Saturday afternoon into Sunday night as the steady rain changed to heavy snow. Meteorologist Brad Small, at the National Weather Service in Johnston, says virtually all of Iowa got at least some snow and many cities got more than a foot.
“Really, the worst-hit areas were from southwest Iowa through the northern Des Moines metro area,” Small says. “We had, here at the office, 14.2 inches and amounts from 8-to-13 inches were pretty common…through the Cedar Rapids area to just north of the Quad Cities. There’s about a third of the state saw better than ten inches.”
Many churches across the state canceled worship services on Sunday and some flights were canceled at Des Moines International Airport, while today, schools in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Dubuque and other districts have canceled classes and Mason City and Ames, among others, started late.
Meteorologist Jim Lee, at the National Weather Service, says the most remarkable aspect of the storm was the precipitation amounts. Lee says, “When you took the total of the rain and melted snow, some areas got more precipitation in 24 hours than they normally see in the entire month of January.” A week ago, a warm-up washed over Iowa and brought high temperatures in the 50s and 60s to many areas. That’s long gone, though, and Lee says this snow will be sticking around for a while.
“The first chance to even get above freezing in most areas is around Friday and that won’t be by much,” Lee says. “So, we may see just a little bit of melting and certainly some compaction but no significant warmups or melting on the horizon.”
Highways in southwestern, central and eastern Iowa are still covered with snow according to Iowa Department of Transportation road conditions website.
A 48-mile stretch of Highway 6 in southwest Iowa, between Council Bluffs and Griswold, was declared “impassable” due to drifting and blowing snow bringing white-out conditions.
The DOT has cameras mounted in many plows that show pictures of what is happening on the roadways on the DOT website.
(Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this story)