Winter storm to bring heavy, wet snow affecting Thursday morning commute
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A winter storm system will move through the central United States on Wednesday night into Thursday, bringing a variety of weather conditions and tricky travel.
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An area of low pressure will move to the northeast tonight, roughly from Tulsa, Okla. to Chicago. This storm will have access to moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, allowing the potential for some heavier precipitation amounts. With temperatures in the atmosphere warm enough, precipitation should begin as all rain across the area, likely in the south after 7:00 p.m., spreading to the north over the next three to six hours.
As temperatures cool overnight, and eastern Iowa gets more toward the back side of this area of low pressure, precipitation will likely change from rain to snow. A period of a wintry mix is possible during this transition, which could lead to some minor accumulations of sleet or ice overnight. Snow will be at its heaviest between about 5:00 a.m. and Noon on Thursday, causing some significant impacts to the morning commute.
A broad area of 2 to 5 inches of snow is likely for most of the area, with other areas set to receive a trace to 2 inches. With temperatures near freezing at their coldest, the snow will be of a heavy and wet nature. This will make for slippery and slushy roads, as well as making it harder to shovel.
Plan on having a longer morning commute, giving yourself extra time to get to your destination. At peak intensity during the morning, roads and other paved surfaces will likely deteriorate quickly. Give yourself some extra stopping distance between you and the car in front of you, and reduce your speed in areas of wintry precipitation.
Winds will also be stronger during the day on Thursday, with gusts of 25 to 35 mph possible at times. While the snow may be too heavy to blow around much, factor this into your winter weather driving strategies.
After this system exits on Thursday, we’ll see mostly dry days through the weekend, with temperatures back above freezing. Our next chance for precipitation holds off until Tuesday.
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