Eastern Iowa will be ringing in 2022 with an impactful winter storm

Heavy snow, gusty winds, and dangerous cold still on track for New Year’s Weekend
Snow moves in from the south Saturday morning, impacting areas along and south of I-80 by mid-morning and moving north toward the Highway 20 corridor by early a
Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 3:39 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Winter took a while to get going in eastern Iowa this year, but now it just won’t quit!

Freezing drizzle remains possible for much of eastern Iowa through late evening. Winter Weather Advisories are in place for this through 6 PM for most of the area, lasting through 9 PM for our northern counties. This is in addition to alerts in place for Saturday’s system. Expect slick spots on roadways and take it slow and allow extra time if you must travel this evening. As the freezing drizzle ends tonight, look for clouds overhead but a quiet to actually ring in 2022. The first day of 2022 will be active though.

An impactful winter storm system is still on track Saturday. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Saturday for counties along and south of U.S. Highway 30. Counties just north of this, along U.S. Highway 20, are under a Winter Weather Advisory. These alerts are put out to highlight areas where driving could become particularly difficult, if not impossible at times.

Winter weather-related alerts in effect on Saturday, January 1, 2022.
Winter weather-related alerts in effect on Saturday, January 1, 2022.(KCRG)

Snow begins early in the morning south of I-80, moving north throughout the morning and quickly intensifying as it does. Snow will be heaviest during the late morning and early afternoon hours, gradually waning into the evening hours. Expect conditions to deteriorate quickly. Because of the cold temperatures the snow will be rather light and fluffy- easily blown around. North winds will gust 30-40 MPH, leading to blowing and drifting of snow. Snow continues through dinner time and into the evening before coming to an end around midnight. The threat for blowing snow could continue after snow stops actively falling, keeping driving dangerous into Sunday morning.

Those northerly winds will also act to potentially cause a fairly sharp cut-off to the northern edge of our snowfall totals. Thus, the highest confidence in our forecast exists in the area of highest totals, the area expecting 7 to 10 inches generally along and south of Interstate 80. This is the same area that will see snow lasting the longest. There will be a sharp cutoff on the northern end of this system with a band of 4-7″ immediately north, stretching from north of Tama through Cedar Rapids to just south of Dubuque, with the heaviest totals in that range coming on the southern end of that band. Lighter amounts will be to the north of that.

Winter weather-related alerts in effect on Saturday, January 1, 2022.
Winter weather-related alerts in effect on Saturday, January 1, 2022.(KCRG)

In addition to the snow and blowing snow concerns, it will be extremely cold to start the new year. Wind chills through the entire weekend look to remain below zero for all of eastern Iowa. Wind Chill Advisories are already in place for Friday night into Saturday morning for parts of our northwestern zone and another advisory is likely for more of eastern Iowa Sunday morning.

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