A potent winter storm will impact portions of the forecast area starting late tonight, maximizing Saturday morning and ending Saturday afternoon/evening. Read on for the full details with the ISC models for snow and wind within this article...
Before we get into the forecast I want to mention that when the probability maps are created for a certain amount of snow, that means that we are not confident enough to issue a snowfall forecast at that distance and that things can change. Now that we are less than 12 hours from the event, I have been able to get a good sample of the system and while I thought it would be south, the clear sign today is that the track of snow will be over the northern half of the state. Snow will begin to work into western Iowa late tonight with the pulse of snow continuing east into central and eastern Iowa overnight into Saturday morning. The system will have a heavy axis of snow between highway 20 and highway 18 in northern Iowa. This area will have hourly rates of 0.5-1.0" for a time early Saturday morning. So, if you are in the pink shaded area in the snowfall forecast below, that is the Winter Storm Warning zone.
Temperatures through the event will start off in the teens tonight and dive into the single digits across northern Iowa by Saturday morning. While moisture will be falling at a heavy rate, this will be a fluffy snow. In addition, wind gusts will approach 20-30 MPH on the backside of the storm system during the day Saturday which may lead to some blowing and drifting of snow. This activity will move off to the east of the forecast area later Saturday. The Iowa Storm Center model suite for snow and wind is below.
LONG RANGE: The cold arctic air sets in during the back half of this weekend and through the first week of February which will lead to a below normal precipitation pattern for that time frame. After that, snow chances can inch back into the forecast by the following week.
Snow Forecast - Valid Late tonight through Saturday
Iowa Storm Center Wind Gust Intensity Scale -
Level 6. Damage may occur to buildings and trees. Power outages possible. High Profile Vehicle Roll-Over Likely. Do NOT recommend traveling in this zone.
Level 5. Some trees are broken, building damage possible. High Profile Vehicle Roll-Over Likely. HIGH WIND WARNING CRITERIA
Level 4. Slight damage may occur to trees/buildings. High Profile Vehicle Roll-Over Possible. WIND ADVISORY CRITERIA
Level 3. Small branches may break, walking is difficult.
Level 2. Large trees sway, becoming difficult to walk.
Level 1. Small trees sway, breezy
Forecast Radar - Valid Late tonight through Saturday night
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