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Winter Storm Q sets sights on Central Iowa

6 to 9 inches of snowfall, strong winds expected

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 12:23 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 12:25 p.m. CDT

The National Weather Service is forecasting 6 to 9 inches of snowfall from Thursday’s winter storm. The Weather Channel, dubbing the powerful low pressure system “Winter Storm Q,” is calling for 6 to 12 inches.

But despite the uncertainty in the snowfall forecasts, they both agree the storm will be yet another to be reckoned with.

Weather Service Forecast

The NWS office in Johnston is still calling the storm “significant,” and is forecasting widespread moderate to heavy snowfall across Iowa Thursday and Thursday night. This, combined with a strong easterly wind will contribute to “significant impacts across much of Iowa,” according to the most recent forecast.

Timing: snowfall is expected to begin falling in Central Iowa during the mid- to late-afternoon hours with the heaviest snowfall expected to occur early during the storm, particularly during the afternoon commute.

• Snowfall: accumulations will range from 6 to 9 inches with locally higher amounts possible.

• Winds: easterly winds will increase to 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph Thursday afternoon before diminishing in the evening.

• Visibility: snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hours during the period of strongest winds will reduce visibility to a quarter mile or less for a period of several hours.

• Impacts: conditions will deteriorate rapidly as the snowfall begins; travel will become hazardous due to poor visibility and roads rapidly becoming icy and snow packed.

Third ‘Named’ Storm

So far this winter, the bulk of measurable snowfall in Jasper County has come from two storms that were named under The Weather Channel’s new winter storm notification system: “Draco” and “Magnus.” This storm will be called “Q.”

The Weather Channel’s forecast is very similar to that of the National Weather Service, but differs on snowfall accumulation. It also projects the storm’s arrival to be Thursday afternoon in Central Iowa.

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