Iowa kids from Chariton to Washington to Davenport are getting an extra day of Thanksgiving vacation as many schools across the southeastern third of the state canceled classes due to heavy snow.
Sunday’s blizzard dumped 6-12 inches of snow on much of the region, but meteorologist Brooke Hagenhoff, at the National Weather Service, says some areas got much more. “The highest report that we’ve gotten so far is 17 inches in Oskaloosa,” Hagenhoff says. “We also had 16 inches reported in Osceola and at University Park in Mahaska County.” Knoxville reports 14 inches of snow, Muscatine and the Quad Cities both report 13 inches, Sigourney got a foot even, while Clarinda got almost 11 inches of snowfall.
While it’s unclear if any records were set with the holiday weekend snowstorm, it left behind temperatures far below normal. “The stiff north winds yesterday helped usher in a lot of that colder weather and we’re looking for that to stick around at least through the middle to the end of the week,” Hagenhoff says. “The normal high for this time of year is 42 degrees. Yesterday we hit 33 and today we’re looking to stay right around 26.”
On the plus side, Hagenhoff says there shouldn’t be any more snow in Iowa anytime soon. “Not right now,” Hagenhoff says. “It’s a relatively active pattern so there may be chances for just light flurries around the state but nothing significant that we’re looking at right now.”
A woman answering the phone at the Mahaska County Roads Department in Oskaloosa said no one was available to comment on conditions there as everyone was out on snow plows — and many had been at it with only brief breaks for a solid 24 hours.
The Mahaska County Sheriff says his deputies were very busy helping stranded motorists. Russ Van Renterghem says his agency only investigating four vehicle crashes between 8 a.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. today and none of those involved injuries.
“But we had close to 75 single vehicles sliding into ditches, getting stuck in snow, that type of thing – we did assist motorists with,” Van Renterghem said. Oskaloosa received 17 inches of snow, the most reported in Iowa, so Van Renterghem says things could have been worse.
“Seventy-five motorist assists seems kind of high, but not when you consider the amount of traffic in Mahaska County,” Van Renterghem said. “I think a lot of folks just stayed home and rode the storm out at home.”
(Mahaska County info contributed by Joe Lancello, KBOE, Oskaloosa)