AMES, Iowa – Feb. 20, 2013; 2:30 p.m. – A severe winter storm is forecast for most of Iowa begining Thursday morning and continuing into Friday. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for southwest Iowa calling for widespread, significant snow. Storm accumluations will range from 6 to 10 inches, with locally higher amounts possible. Much of the rest of the state is currently under a winter storm watch in anticipation of the movement of the storm across Iowa Thursday.
Statewide, heavy snow during the late morning and afternoon will lead to treacherous travel conditions for Thursday’s afternoon rush hour. Although blowing snow will diminish Thursday evening, high snow totals and gusty east winds could make travel very difficult.
The Iowa Department of Transportation is advising travelers to take necessary preparations for this event, including making sure a winter survival kit or emergency supplies are stowed in their vehicles with sufficient resources for all passengers. A mobile phone should also be carried in your vehicle for emergency use only. Don’t talk, take photos/video or text while driving.
Potential travel hazards with this event include:
- Heavy snow, starting southwest Iowa mid-morning and spreading statewide by evening.
- Increasing wind speeds Thursday, which may reduce visibiliy to less than one-quarter mile in a very short period of time.
Once parked in a safe location, become part of Iowa’s traffic information social network.
- Geotag photos and video: All smartphones have GPS because of enhanced 911 service. If you are a social media user who likes to share photos and video during winter storms, be sure your geotagging is enabled on your mobile device. Then the location of where your photo or video was taken will be tagged. Geotagging helps the Iowa DOT and travelers stay informed about traffic incidents and road conditions based on citizen observations.
- Use the traffic hashtag: The Iowa DOT will be using the hastag #iatraffic during this event and recommends that other Twitter users do the same to find relevant tweets using that key phrase.
- Tell us what you are seeing: Your information could be invaluable to others who are considering travel. You can also be another set of eyes for the Iowa DOT. When posting to Twitter reference @iowadot in your post. Tag us in your posts and photos on Facebook.
- Follow us: All traffic-related news releases and traffic incident reports are posted on the Iowa DOT’s Twitter accounts. Search for either @iowadot or @statewide511.