“Here we go again” is the only appropriate way to put it, as I don’t know how many times now that I’ve had to talk about our unfortunate extended winter season. After our severe weather event on Friday and blizzard on Saturday, mother nature does not appear to be done with Iowa as yet another winter storm is pegged to impact the area from late Tuesday night through late Wednesday night.
The weather early this week should remain fairly tranquil courtesy of high pressure, albeit cool with below-normal temperatures. Highs today will reach the 30’s and 40’s and tomorrow into the 40’s and 50’s. The high pressure system will pull east in advance of a deepening low pressure center in Kansas Tuesday evening, before riding the Iowa/Missouri border Wednesday morning and steadily weakening. This is all in association with a longwave trough aloft in the Central Plains Tuesday night, which will form into a well-defined closed low over northern Iowa by Wednesday afternoon.
A large band of precipitation will spread into our somewhat “common” area this winter – northwest and north central Iowa – in the late overnight hours Tuesday. This will initially be in the form of freezing rain and sleet over areas north of Highway 20 until the mid-morning hours on Wednesday, before precipitation gradually changes over to snow gradually from north-to-south. This will lead to our far northern counties of the state receiving the heaviest snowfall and areas near-and-along Highway 20 and Highway 3 seeing the heaviest icing totals, perhaps up to a tenth-or-two in spots.
The heaviest precipitation will fall in the morning to early afternoon hours on Wednesday, with snowfall rates up to an inch per hour possible. With plenty of moisture available, snowfall amounts will approach six-to-eight inches in spots. The fine tune details as far as amounts and overall idea of placement will still need to be worked out in the coming days, considering we are 2-3 days out, and medium-to-high confidence is not being felt at present time, especially on 6-8″ area. Several wild cards are at play including the exact storm track and details on the aforementioned changeover.
Winter Storm Watches have been posted for 26 counties in northwest and north central Iowa in advance of this system. Regardless of specifics on amounts or placement, impacts can be expected beginning around midnight Tuesday night (especially in the far northwest) through late Wednesday night (especially in the eastern portions). While the heaviest snow will end by mid-afternoon Wednesday, the wind will pick up on the back-end of the system, leading to blowing snow hampering visibilities. Both the morning and afternoon commute will be impacted with snow and ice covered roads. Please begin to take appropriate precautions and plan ahead!
Stay tuned to the Iowa Weather Network for the latest information.