All of the WHO13 area is now under a Winter Storm Warning from Wednesday into Saturday. Blizzard conditions remain likely Thursday and Friday with dangerous cold through the weekend.

Snow will start in Western and North Central Iowa after noon on Wednesday. Snow will quickly spread into Central Iowa into the evening, with snow likely falling in Des Moines for the evening commute.

Winds will be relatively light compared to the rest of the storm Wednesday evening, with speeds around 10 to 15 mph. Two to three inches of snow will fall with the first burst of snow Wednesday afternoon and evening.

There will be a brief lull in the snow around midnight Wednesday, but as the cold front slams across Central Iowa between 1 and 4 AM Thursday, conditions will rapidly deteriorate, with travel becoming life threatening.

Blowing snow will reduce visibilities to near zero at times, especially as falling snow picks up again into dawn and mid morning Thursday, bringing final accumulation totals into the 3 to 6 inch range.

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Overall totals will not make much difference as winds gust at 30 to 40 mph, creating ground blizzard conditions after the falling snow has stopped, and making it nearly impossible to measure.

The winds will actually strengthen Thursday night and Friday, with gusts eventually in the 40 to 50 mph range as the low deepens. Blizzard conditions are likely to continue on Friday thanks to the high winds, with Saturday morning looking particularly hazardous as well. Winds finally begin to let up into Sunday.

Wind chills will range from -30 to -40 across much of the state during the warning. The prolonged cold will be deadly to people or animals stranded outside without proper shelter and clothing.

As an example, Des Moines is expected to see wind chills dip below -20 Thursday morning, and not warm past that again until Saturday afternoon. Wind chills at -30 or colder are possible for 24 consecutive hours between Thursday noon and Friday noon.

Please do not travel unless it is an emergency on Thursday during the height of the storm. If you are forced to travel, make sure you have an emergency kit, and do not leave your car if you become stranded.