CEDAR RAPIDS — As much as a foot of snow could fall in Eastern Iowa on Monday, in a storm that will also bring strong wind and freezing rain, forecasters predict.
Though the storm will start in the morning in far southern Iowa, the National Weather Service said it would reach Interstate 80, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities between 3 and 5 p.m. The storm system is expected to stay over the region through at least Tuesday morning.
This graphic from the NWS shows estimated start times for the snow:
“A powerful storm system will bring heavy snow, strong and gusty winds, mixed freezing rain and snow, and blowing and drifting snow to the region through Tuesday morning,” the weather service said in the latest forecast bulletin Monday morning.
Iowa City schools announced they will close early Monday, dismissing elementary students at 11:55 a.m. and secondary students at 1 p.m., also canceling all after school programs and activities.
The snow is expected initially to be heavy and wet. But later, as temperatures drop toward evening, it will turn fluffy — increasing drifting and decreasing visibility.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” the weather service said.
Snowfall totals are expected to be heavier south of Highway 30, but the difference may not be all that substantial: Washington may see 8 to 12 inches; Iowa City 7 to 11 inches; and Cedar Rapids 6 to 11 inches, forecasters predicted.
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“Afternoon into evening, the systems peak will approach, with a band of very heavy wet snow, gradually transitioning to fluffy snow, mainly centered from Highway 34 to Highway 30,” a National Weather Service forecaster wrote. “Once it sets up, it may not move at all for four hours or more, allowing for very heavy totals through evening. That axis, roughly along Interstate 80 in Iowa, could still see a foot of snow, though most areas are going to be forecast 8-11 inches there, with 5 to 8 inches in our east.”
Monday is predicted to be blustery with a high of about 26, dropped later to a low of about 20. Tuesday won’t be any warmer — a high of about 25 is predicted again.
Snow chances will decline Tuesday, but still will be about 30 percent for Wednesday, the weather service said.