December 20, 2013

NWS warns of 'messy and possibly hazardous' weather

By MATT MILNER The Oskaloosa Herald
The Oskaloosa Herald

---- — OTTUMWA — Forecasters with the National Weather Service are warning of “a messy and potentially hazardous forecast for the next several days.”

The series of storms begins with freezing rain. The National Weather Service has issued a freezing rain advisory to go into effect at 6 p.m. today. It will continue until 6 a.m. Friday.

Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing after sunset, but the air aloft will be warm enough to prevent precipitation from falling as snow. That means it will freeze on contact with surfaces. The National Weather Service says the situation is “a classic setup for light icing across much of the area.”

The advisory covers all of southeast Iowa, with the exception of Lee County. Accumulations are expected to be below a tenth of an inch, but that’s still plenty to make roads and sidewalks slippery.

This is the first of two expected rounds of winter weather. A second system is expected to bring significant snowfall amounts to southeast Iowa over the weekend.

The National Weather Service has not issued forecasts for the amount of snow in the second round. But other forecasts have suggested totals could exceed six inches.

Precisely what track the weekend storm takes will be critical. Weather forecasting models have shown it shifting to the north, which could put southeast Iowa closer to the heaviest amounts of snow.