A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for Friday afternoon, evening and early Saturday morning as a strong surface low pushes out of the Rockies and across the Plains to Iowa during the day.
Ahead of this storm system, a quick moving warm front will lift across Iowa tonight bringing more clouds and some pockets of drizzle early Thursday morning. This will also bring warming temperatures from the 20s this evening to the mid-30s by sunrise. Skies will clear the morning clouds and sun will make an appearance. Highs look to go well above average in the upper 40s and low 50s in the afternoon.
The main storm system will quickly lift out of the Rockies during the day on Friday. This will bring a band of snow across Nebraska, SE South Dakota, Northwest & Northern Iowa, as well as Southern Minnesota. The snow will start in far northwest Iowa as early as 8 AM but will really pick up across more of North Central Iowa, in communities like Fort Dodge from 1 PM on.
It will be warm enough for rain by 11 AM in the Des Moines Metro and along the I-80 cooridor. The rain will lift north toward Ames during the early afternoon with a transition line of snow north of Ames and closer to Highway 20.
As the low pressure center lifts across Wisconsin and Illinois, some wrap around light snow will move through North Central Iowa and just north of Des Moines with some light snow and flurries in the early morning hours of Saturday. It will be colder and windier overnight and into the day on Saturday with highs back in the 30s.
Snowfall totals will be highest north of Fort Dodge with 3 to 6″ there. A few pockets of 6″ to 8″ will be possible in NW Iowa. 1 to 2″ is possible from Carroll to Ames. Just a dusting to 2″ expected for Des Moines.