Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Winter Storm Recap (Feb. 25/26)

The latest winter storm has left the entire state under a sheet of ice and snow, making driving conditions once again hazardous. Nearly the entire state is reporting roads are mostly to completely covered in an ice/snow mix this morning, with a few roads advising no travel at all in southeast Iowa. This means once again that many of the schools are running late today until roads can be cleared.

Yesterdays' event wasn't nearly the event it could have and was forecasted to be. As the low pressure system followed a fairly well forecasted track through Missouri and then into Illinois the cold air simply did not fill in to the north of it. Precipitation began as rain or freezing rain throughout the entire state, not switching over to snow even in the northwest portion of the state until the mid to late morning hours. The changeover then continued to work southeast through the day, not making into areas of central Iowa until mid-afternoon. This allowed a majority of precipitation yesterday to fall as rain, keeping our snow totals down significantly from what was expected. The highest snowfall amounts reported via NWS COOP observers was 4 inches in Oskalooska, IA with several reports of 2 and 3 inches as well. Other areas in the extreme south and extreme north did not receive much of any precip, rain or snow. The liquid precipitation yesterday totaled nearly a half inch for many areas, with some isolated amounts even higher indicating that on an average rain to snow ratio, many areas should have seen at least 5 inches of snowfall yesterday if the cold air was there.

We'll take a break from winter for a bit once again, trying to warm back up and letting the sun shine. The next system looks to occur Thursday into Thursday night, however it looks to mainly be light to moderate snow with no significant accumulations. Looking well ahead will have most people smiling for the weekend as temperatures over the state will be well above freezing, even some areas pushing for 50! This of course will come before our next strong and potentially significant system for early next week.