Until this morning, it was all speculation and educated guessing. Now, forecasters with the National Weather Service are absolutely certain: a “significant winter storm” will impact Jasper County and Central Iowa beginning Thursday morning.
Snowfall totals could be 5 to 10 inches in most areas, with up to 12 inches possible in isolated locations. As a results, a Winter Storm Watch has already been issued two days in advance of the storm.
“A developing low pressure will push northeast toward Iowa Thursday and Thursday night,” the current forecast from the Johnston NWS office states. “Widespread significant snowfall is expected ... Thursday into Friday.”
Now that the powerful low pressure system that was long expected to bring a new round of winter weather to the Midwest has entered the continental United States, forecasters are beginning to get a better feel for how the storm will develop over Iowa. Based on the most recent forecast, much of Iowa will be impacted by the storm.
Snow is expected to move into southwest Iowa by sunrise Thursday, spreading northeasterly in central Iowa by mid- to late-morning. Although the heaviest snowfall is expected to fall west of Interstate Highway 35, more than 7 inches is currently forecast for Jasper County.
During the worst part of the storm, when east winds are expected to blow in excess of 25 mph, snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour are also expected. This will create visibilities of less than a quarter mile for “a period of several hours.”
“Conditions will deteriorate rapidly as the snow moves in,” the NWS forecast narrative said. “At the onset, visibility will fall to less than one-half mile within 15 minutes or so. Travel will become hazardous due to poor visibility and the roads will rapidly become icy and snow clogged.”
The NWS office in Johnston will continue to provide updated forecasts. Check www.newtondailynews.com and the Daily News Facebook page for continuing updates.
Daily News Editor Bob Eschliman may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 423, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.