Public Safety

Expect more snow, colder temps on morning commute

6 to 8 inches to fall overnight, with subzero chills Thursday and Friday

Traffic travels along I-380 near North Liberty in Johnson County on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Traffic travels along I-380 near North Liberty in Johnson County on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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Eastern Iowa residents can expect a “very wintry week,” with more snow falling overnight through Wednesday morning leading into dangerously cold temperatures through the end of the week.

Andy Ervin, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Quad Cities office, said residents can expect between 6 to 8 inches with blowing and drifting snow through Wednesday morning, likely through 9 a.m.

If drivers are on unsalted roads, they can expect slick conditions during Wednesday morning’s commute. Many roads are still likely to be glazed with ice from the storm that began dropping freezing rain and snow on the area Tuesday morning, according to the weather service.

Temperatures are predicted to drop nearly 15 degrees Wednesday to a low of 6 degrees in the evening.

For the remainder of the workweek, Ervin said Eastern Iowans can expect bitter cold conditions, with the worst coming Thursday night into Friday. The temperature in the Cedar Rapids area is expected to be between -10 and -15 degrees that night, with windchills at -30 or -35 degrees, which Ervin calls “dangerously cold” — there’s a high risk of frostbite to exposed skin in this weather, even for a short amount of time.

There may be more snow to come during the weekend, with chances of light snow Friday through Sunday, according to weather service forecasts. The Corridor saw 4 to 6 inches of snow last weekend.

Drivers can follow a number of tips to stay safe while driving in cold and slick conditions. AAA recommends not using a vehicle’s parking break or cruise control and keeping the gas tank at least half full at all times.

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The auto club also advises drivers to keep their cars stocked with a cellphone, blankets, winter gear, food and any needed medication in case they get stranded.

If a car gets stuck, people should stay in the vehicle, according to AAA. This makes it easier for rescuers to locate people who are stranded, and it’s easy to get lost or lose sight of a car in blowing snow. Drivers should tie a brightly colored cloth to the top of the car’s antenna or stick it at the top of a window. Dome lights should also be kept on at night.

Drivers should also ensure the tailpipe is not clogged with snow or ice. A clog can cause carbon monoxide to leak into the passenger compartment.

The engine should run just long enough to remove the chill in the air with the heater and then be turned off to save gas.

AAA also recommends a winter driving kit include: a bag of cat litter, sand or salt, a snow brush and small shovel, traction mat, flashlight, window washing liquid, gloves, ice scraper, towels, jumper cables, blanket, warning flares or triangles, and a cellphone.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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