AMES, Iowa – Dec. 31, 2010: 10 a.m. update – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is reporting that roadway conditions are deteriorating as the freezing rain covers the southwest portion and midsection of the state. Roadways, including Interstates 29, 35, 80 and 680 in the affected areas are mostly or completely covered with ice. The Iowa State Patrol is now prohibiting towing services in these areas.
An unusual winter weather situation has Iowa caught in the middle of two strong and contrasting storm systems. The warmer air system pumping moisture up from Missouri has resulted in the issuance of tornado watches and warnings in that state. From the west, a wet, frigid system is causing air and pavement temperatures to plummet.
Ice is quickly forming on the pavement as soon as the rain hits. Pavement temperatures have dropped from the 40s and 50s yesterday to below freezing in central Iowa and the teens in western Iowa. The quick freeze is also causing ice to instantly coat vehicles' windshields, causing visibility problems for travelers.
Travelers are urged to avoid travel in the areas where freezing rain is falling and allow time for the storm systems to move farther east. As the temperatures drop, additional precipitation will fall in the form of flurries or in northwest Iowa significant snowfall.
To monitor Iowa travel conditions, visit www.511ia.org or call 511 (in Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (outside of the state).