TRACKING: Winter weather in two waves through Saturday


A strong storm system will track through the region this afternoon through Saturday. Our impacts will come in two waves.


This afternoon we will have a wintry mix that will include some snow and sleet with some freezing rain at times. The best area for freezing rain will be in a Clinton to Iowa City with a glazing of ice possible. Over a tenth of an inch will be possible around 30 miles south of that line with the most from Quad Cities to Ottumwa to Lamoni. Along a line between Dubuque and Cedar Rapids will have a little bit of everything with mainly sleet and snow. Areas north will be mainly snow, although some sleet may mix in. A brief period of heavy snowfall is possible this afternoon and evening. It will also be breezy with north winds 10-20 mph gusting higher. Blowing snow may occur this evening.

Tonight will have the wintry mix changing to all snow and then tapering off toward morning. Snowfall amounts tonight will depend on how much sleet and freezing rain mix in, or if you saw one of those brief snow bursts, but most will see 1 to 3″ tonight. North winds will be 15-30 mph, gusting higher so blowing snow is likely.

Saturday morning may have a brief break between the waves, although some will see flurries or a snow shower, especially in the south and east.

Saturday afternoon the next round will track in and this will be all snow. Another 2 to 5″ of snow will fall across the area. The lightest will be far northwest/north with the heaviest generally along and south of a Dubuque to Cedar Rapids line. Blowing and driftin snow will be likely due to north winds of 15 to 25 mph, gusting higher.

Sunday: A weak disturbance will bring a round of light snow to the KWWL viewing area mainly during the afternoon and night. Another 1 to 2″ are possible by early Monday morning.

Takeaway: There is a high probability that travel will be impacted late this afternoon through Saturday night. There is low confidence on amounts of snow… this is due to many variables: how much freezing rain, sleet mix in (this cuts down snowfall amounts); the track of the storm (any change in direction changes where the snow, ice, sleet fall); dry air coming in from the north (this would cut snowfall amounts down if it makes it into our viewing area); thunder (while not a high probability, we may get thunder in isolated areas which would increase snowfall rates); speed of each wave (the longer each wave tracks through the heavier the amounts… the faster the waves move through, the lighter amounts).

If you are planning travel this weekend, stay up to date on the latest changes in the storm’s track.

2020-01-10 17:23:44

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