In advance of forecasted blizzard conditions in the state, the Iowa Department of Transportation is advising motorists that travel across the majority of Iowa is not advised from 8 p.m. tonight through noon Thursday, Dec. 20.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning beginning at 6 p.m. tonight and continuing through 6 p.m. Thursday. In addition to heavy snowfall of 6 to 10 inches, very strong northwest winds (25-35 mph, with gusts exceeding 45 mph) will produce considerable blowing and drifting of snow and blizzard conditions late tonight through Thursday afternoon.
The heaviest snow axis will be along a line from Atlantic to Dubuque. The lowest amounts are expected near the Missouri border. Snow drifts several feet deep will be possible given the strong winds. Visibility at times will be reduced to one-quarter mile or less to whiteout conditions.
The Iowa DOT does not recommend travel during this dangerous winter storm, but if you choose to venture out, take a fully charged cell phone with you. If you become stranded, follow these safety steps.
• Use your mobile phone to call 911 for emergency assistance. Guide emergency personnel to your location by observing any exit numbers, mileposts, crossroads or landmarks.
• Pull as far off the road as possible to avoid getting hit by other vehicles.
• Turn on your vehicle’s warning/flashing lights.
• Remain with your vehicle. Your vehicle provides the shelter necessary to survive and allows you to be found by rescue personnel.
• Remain calm and be patient. It may take considerable time for someone to reach your vehicle during a storm as emergency personnel typically are assisting multiple persons.
• Make sure your vehicle’s gas tank is full before starting your trip. If you become stranded, run your vehicle about 10 minutes every hour to stay warm.
• Crack a window in the vehicle to avoid carbon monoxide build-up; and clear away any snow from the vehicle’s tailpipe so the exhaust can escape.
• Utilize the resources in your winter survival kit.
To discover all the ways in which you can receive 24/7 Iowa traveler information, visit http://511ia.org/.