(City of Ames photo)

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for some two-dozen counties in northeast Iowa through midnight tonight as forecasters say the area may get at least a half-foot of snow.

A Winter Weather Advisory extends across much of central and western Iowa. Meteorologist Cory Martin, at the National Weather Service, says the fast-moving winter storm system is dumping a lot of snow — and some rain and freezing rain — as it moves across Iowa.

“Right now, we have snow falling across a good chunk of state, kind of the southern two thirds of the state is where we see snowfall on radar right now and it’s steadily expanding north and eastward,” Martin says. “Snowfall has been heavy at times which has allowed it to accumulate, mostly on grassy surfaces but we’ve seen it on roadways as well.”

Road conditions are expected to deteriorate in many parts of the state throughout the day, and Iowans who have to travel are advised to check for advisories first by calling 5-1-1.  “Even though temperatures are near to just above freezing, when you start to get that slush on the road, it can get almost kind of a greasy, slippery effect,” Martin says, “so there is some hazardous travel conditions out there, which has also been reported by the DOT.”

Much of the state will get at least some snow today, while Martin says the forecast models show northeast Iowa will likely get the worst of it, including cities like Charles City, Decorah, Dubuque and Waterloo. “At the end of the day, northeast Iowa stands the best chance to see the highest snowfall accumulations of up around six inches, possibly more in some areas,” Martin says. “Otherwise, further south and west, you’re looking at a broad three to six, and when you get closer to the Des Moines metro, maybe two to four, and then amounts waning as you go further south and west across the state.”

During December, Martin is often quizzed on whether there will be a white Chirstmas. Now, eight days from a big March holiday, he’s predicting we’ll likely see a green St. Patrick’s Day. Martin says, “Even though it’s looking like we’re going to have some below-normal temperatures continuing into the better part of next week, along with additional snowfall chances this weekend, when we do finally get a warm-up, probably toward the middle to the latter half of next week, as we get back into the 40s and 50s, the snow is not going to hanging around too long.”

Keep up with the changing forecast at weather.gov.

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