As a snowstorm continues blanketing Eastern Iowa with 3 to 5 inches Monday, dozens of crashes have led to multiple fatalities being reported across the state.
At 11:22 a.m., Cedar Rapids police were notified of a crash on I-380 northbound near the Highway 30 interchange. Two of the adult male occupants of the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene, and a third was transported to UnityPoint-St. Luke’s Hospital with serious injuries. Cedar Rapids police responded to 44 accidents between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., including 22 on interstates, according to a Facebook post urging motorists to slow down and use caution.
In Central Iowa, a multiple-vehicle crash closed I-35 southbound near Ames around 12:30 p.m.; northbound lanes were later closed for part of the day to allow access for emergency vehicles. At least one fatality has been reported in that crash, said Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig.
About 50 cars piled up in that crash, sending about a handful of people to the hospital, Ludwig said.
Another fatal crash occurred just east of Grinnell at exit 191 on Highway 63, Ludwig said, although victim information had yet to be released.
Road conditions were already starting to deteriorate Monday morning, with the Cedar Rapids Police Department reporting multiple crashes in a tweet shortly before 11 a.m.
Snow is expected to continue through the early evening.
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The Iowa caucuses will proceed as planned Monday evening. Iowa Code does not include a provision for delaying the caucuses due to weather, according to a joint statement from the Iowa Republican and Democratic parties. They urged caucusgoers to use caution when traveling and leave extra time to arrive at caucus locations. Full caucus details can be found on the websites of the Republican and Democratic parties.
The Cedar Rapids Public Works department has been pre-treating roadways since Friday, February 2, applying more than 16,000 gallons of brine, according to a media release. Plows were deployed around 10:30 a.m.
A tow ban is also in effect in numerous counties, as of 1:45 p.m. Up-to-date details can be found via the Iowa Department of Transportation at 511ia.org.
According to the National Weather Service, the forecast for the Eastern Iowa area includes moderate to heavy snow that will rapidly move east. Beginning in the late morning, it will continue through the afternoon, with most of the area being covered by early afternoon. They say you should expect when traveling for your visibility to be under one mile, with snow covering roads through the evening. Snowfall is expected to accumulate about a half an inch to one inch per hour, with total accumulation between 3 and 5 inches.