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Winter Weather Advisory until 6 pm for freezing drizzle, weekend snow storm still on track

The threat for freezing drizzle has increased Friday afternoon. A Winter Weather Advisory is posted until 6 p.m. Friday.
Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 5:07 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The threat for freezing drizzle has increased Friday afternoon. A Winter Weather Advisory is posted until 6 p.m. Friday.

Expect slick spots to develop, with some already being reported in central Iowa.

That comes ahead of the strong winter storm heading for the central United States this weekend. It will bring significant disruptions to travel to begin the new year.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Saturday for counties that are generally along and south of U.S. Highway 30. A Winter Weather Advisory borders that warning area to the north, generally along the U.S. Highway 20 corridor. 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)

If you have New Year’s Eve plans, you don’t need to change them. Friday evening into early Saturday morning should be dry and without much issue beyond chilly temperatures. Snowfall should begin in the southern portions of the viewing area, south of Interstate 80, after 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. From there, the northern end of snow spreads to the north, reaching the Highway 30 corridor by about 8:00 a.m., and the Highway 20 corridor by about 10:00 a.m.

Snow will be heaviest during the late morning and early afternoon hours, gradually waning into the evening hours.

When snow begins, expect conditions to deteriorate quickly. Winds will also be present out of the north, between about 15-25 mph and gusting upwards of 30-35 mph at times. This will cause some blowing and drifting of snow, as the nature of the snow is expected to be relatively light and fluffy. The threat for blowing snow could continue after snow stops actively falling, keeping driving dangerous Saturday night 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. A band of 4 to 7 inches will stretch from Tama to Cedar Rapids to Dubuque, with the heaviest totals coming on the southern end of that band. Lighter amounts will be to the north of that.

Expected snowfall amounts on Saturday, January 1, 2022.
Expected snowfall amounts on Saturday, January 1, 2022.(KCRG)

Cold air will be another factor through the weekend, with wind chills likely staying below zero for all of Saturday and Sunday. The coldest will be found on Sunday morning, when readings will likely range from -15 to -30 degrees. This type of cold can cause frostbite in under 30 minutes, in addition to other complications. Factor this into your plans for snow removal this weekend and dress appropriately.

Fortunately, after this storm system, quieter weather continues for at least a few days, giving the region a break.

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