Iowa has enjoyed (okay, maybe not enjoyed) a relatively cool, calm, and quiet couple of days after the most recent winter storm impacted the area earlier this week. However, our attention is now turning to the next disturbance expected to impact the area late this weekend and into the early part of the work-week.
A dominant area of 1031 mb high pressure controlling the tranquil and cold pattern over the Plains and Upper Mississippi Valley will finally begin moving off to the east late Saturday night, making way for a low pressure system and associated warm front to approach the region. This will be accompanied by warm and moist southerly air aloft and windy conditions at the surface. By mid-morning on Sunday, moisture will spread into the area and snow will begin as the shortwave ejects eastward. North central and central Iowa will see snow falling by mid-to-late afternoon Sunday, with areas to the east moreso towards Sunday night. Snow will linger over points east of Interstate 35 into Monday morning, with snow clearing east central Iowa by afternoon.
Total snow accumulations with this event look to be four-to-seven inches from north central to east central Iowa, including Mason City, Waterloo, and Interstate 35 from Dows to the border. Two-to-four inches will be possible outside of this, including Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, Decorah, and Spencer. One-to-two inches is possible for Des Moines, Sioux City, and Carroll. Some mixed precipitation will be possible, but significant ice or sleet is not expected. This will probably translate to Winter Weather Advisories for much of the northeastern half of the state.
The good news is that many factors are in our favor with this snowfall. The first is that we will not see an intense snowfall in a short time span – this will be a long-duration event, where we might get an inch or two every six hours. Combined with warm road temperatures and a somewhat mitigated blowing snow threat, the overall impact of this event should be minor. None of the models have been advertising a well-defined 6+ area of snow. All-in-all, it will snow, but much of it probably won’t stick around for long, nor heavily impact the Monday morning commutes.
Stay tuned to the Iowa Weather Network for the latest information!