Two rounds of freezing rain are expected over the next 24 hours that’ll coat a wide section of Iowa in a layer of ice. Meteorologist Alex Krull, at the National Weather Service, says many roads are already in poor condition. “We currently have freezing drizzle out in northwest Iowa,” Krull says. “Significant ice accumulations are already occurring. We have several reports of roads that are 100% ice-covered. In Carroll and Pocahontas counties in northwest Iowa, we’ve had emergency managers report that the roads are completely impassable.”
Temperatures are warmer in central and southern Iowa, at least for the moment, and most of the precipitation that’s now falling is just rain, but that won’t be the case after the sun goes down. “Round two this evening, we’re expecting to start after 9 P.M. which will impact more of southwest, west-central, central and northeast Iowa,” Krull says. “As temperatures drop below freezing, we’re expecting precipitation and substantial ice accumulations that will continue into Tuesday morning where we’re expecting implications for some travel hazards.”
That second round of freezing drizzle may be much more serious as it will cover areas of the state with larger population centers. “We’re looking for more ice accumulations along a line essentially from Des Moines up through Marshalltown, Waterloo and into Decorah,” Krull says. “We’re looking at anywhere from 15/100ths to 25/100ths of an inch of ice in that area. We’re definitely concerned as this will be impacting the Tuesday morning rush hour commute as well.” Heavy ice that coats trees could bring down limbs onto power lines and cause outages, while all roads, sidewalks, parking lots and driveways will be exceptionally slippery.
“If you must drive during this event, make sure you give yourself extra time,” Krull says. “Leave plenty of room between you and the other vehicles around you as well as give our snow plows plenty of room to do their operations as well.” Keep close tabs of road conditions at the Iowa Department of Transportation travel website, 511ia.org or get updated forecasts from the National Weather Service at weather.gov.