Public Safety

Snow and ice expected Tuesday in Eastern Iowa to make travel treacherous

An Iowa DOT plow works along Highway 1 in Iowa City in 2019. (The Gazette)
An Iowa DOT plow works along Highway 1 in Iowa City in 2019. (The Gazette)

A winter storm expected to move across Eastern Iowa starting Tuesday could dump up to 10 inches of snow and leave a glaze of ice making travel “very difficult to impossible,” the National Weather Service predicts.

Though the weather service expects snowfall in parts of Iowa earlier, forecasters said the heaviest snow in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City areas will come after noon Tuesday. Most of this area could get between 6 and 9 inches of snow by Wednesday morning. But parts of Eastern Iowa, particularly closer to Dubuque, could see up to 10 inches, forecasters predicted.

The snow will be weighty, the weather service said, and could bog down tree limbs and utility lines and possibly lead to power outages.

Davenport, Washington, Ottumwa and Burlington are expected to see less snow as the storm south of the Corridor turns into more of a “wintry mix,” the weather service said. It cautioned, however, that the boundary between snow and the wintry mix is subject to change.

The snowfall is forecast to turn to freezing rain Tuesday night into early Wednesday, leaving sheets of ice as much as a quarter-inch thick, particularly south of Interstate 80 but also likely extending north to the Highway 30 corridor.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” the weather service said in a forecast. “The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.”

In addition, wind gusts of up to 30 mph are expected to reduce visibility, the weather service said in discouraging travel. But if you must drive, forecasters advised to pack an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Drivers can call 511 to hear the latest road conditions.

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The high Tuesday is expected to be slightly below freezing at about 30 degrees, and then slightly above freezing Wednesday at about 34 degrees.

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