IOWA — The first round of snow for Iowa’s multi-day blizzard is mainly through Central Iowa, but more snow will be on the way as the cold front arrives overnight, and brings with it the arctic plunge in temperatures, as well as dangerous wind gusts that will produce whiteout conditions.
Totals from the Wednesday afternoon/evening snow ranged around 2 to 4 inches in Central Iowa. WHO13 studios downtown measured 2″ of snow through 8 PM. Reports from Fort Dodge were at 3″, with around 3.5 to 4 inches of snow reported near Ames and across Story County.
The additional snow through the overnight could add another 2 to 4 inches to existing totals, mainly southeast of an Omaha to Charles City line. Northwest Iowa should see little additional accumulation.
Winds will become the big factor on Thursday as travel becomes more dangerous, and impossible in some cases. Gusts will rapidly pick up after midnight, settling in at 35 to 40 mph much of the day Thursday.
A Blizzard Warning will begin at noon Thursday with widespread whiteout conditions expected outside city limits.
Winds will get worse Thursday night, and hit their peak on Friday, with 45 or 50 mph gusts possible, especially over the northeast half of the state.
Avoid travel unless in an emergency Thursday and Friday during the Blizzard Warning!
The winds will also create life threatening wind chills as temperatures drop below zero. Beginning around 3 to 5 a.m. Thursday, most of the state will spend around 60 hours straight with -20 wind chills or colder, including the majority of that time at -30 or colder for a feels like temperature.
With the bitterly cold temperatures and low to zero visibilities, it is best to stay indoors until conditions improve. If you must travel and become stranded, it is imperative that you have a winter emergency kit with you, and do NOT leave your car on foot.