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Freezing rain expected to hit Cedar Rapids, Iowa City during evening commute

Schools cancel classes ahead of winter weather

National Weather Service graphic
National Weather Service graphic
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Iowa is in for another round of winter weather this week, starting Tuesday afternoon with sleet and freezing rain that will likely create slick roads and sidewalks, making travel hazardous.

“We should see a mix of sleet and maybe some snow initially, starting in the next hour or two (at about 1 or 2 p.m.),” said Tom Phillip, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities. “Later in the afternoon and evening, it should star to transition a mix of freezing rain and sleet, and then change fully to freezing rain at about 5 or 6 p.m., just in time for the evening commute.”

Several area schools are canceling classes Tuesday afternoon ahead of predicted ice and snow.

Cedar Rapids, Linn-Mar, Iowa City, Regina, Solon, College Community, Marion, Xavier Catholic and many other area districts announced Tuesday morning that they would release classes early.

Phillip said Johnson and Linn counties can expect to see only a small amount of accumulation of ice, maybe one-tenth to two-tenths of an inch, but the meteorologist warned that even the slightest bit of ice is enough to wreak havoc on the roads.

“It doesn’t take much with freezing rain to slick the roads and make driving conditions hazardous,” he said. “Even walking can be dangerous if sidewalks, parking lots, driveways, stairs and the like are not treated adequately or left untreated.”

The weather service issued a winter weather advisory for Linn and Johnson counties and portions of the state to the north and west. For many counties to the south and east, an ice storm warning predicting about a quarter-inch of ice accumulation has been issued.

The impending weather, Phillip said, is not related to or the result of last’s week’s polar vortex, which caused temperatures in the Corridor to plummet as low as 40 degrees below zero.

“This is pretty much just winter in Iowa,” he said.

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The storm system, Phillip said, should quickly move into Illinois Tuesday night, clearing the way for a second system that is expected to move into the area Wednesday morning.

“Wednesday, about mid- to late-morning, we’re expecting to see another system move in and bring with it a chance for some more freezing rain,” he said.

By Wednesday afternoon, Phillip said the frozen rain is expected to transition to rain as temperatures warm to the low- to mid-30s. Wednesday night, the temperature will drop again to below freezing, according to the weather service, and more freezing rain is possible.

The system is expected to hover over the region into Thursday afternoon or evening, Phillip said, before moving elsewhere.

The cold, however, is expected to stay.

Phillip said winds are expected to pick up in the area by Thursday afternoon, bringing wind chills as low as 20 degrees below zero.

Friday is expected to be sunny with clear skies with a high near 10 degrees and subzero wind chills, Phillip said, while temperatures Saturday are predicted to stay in the low 20s with wind chills in the low teens.

On Sunday, Phillip said the high is expected to be about 28 degrees, and the area could see more snow in the morning and afternoon.

In the coming hours and days, Phillip said the National Weather Service recommends that people postpone or cancel travel as road conditions will likely become slippery.

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For those who must travel, Phillip said “allow extra time, take it slow and use caution while driving, and even walking outside.”

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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