The third snowstorm of the season is on its way.
National Weather Service (NWS) expects this “major snowstorm” to hit the Creston area Thursday morning and move northeast. Meteorologists are predicting this storm will bring snow totals across Iowa ranging from 5 to 12 inches.
“Creston is looking at 8 to 10 inches of snowfall with isolated areas getting 12 inches,” WHO-TV 13 Meteorologist Megan Salois said this morning. “Creston and southwest Iowa will see some of the highest snowfall totals in the state.”
For Creston, a severe winter storm warning will be in effect 11 a.m. Thursday through noon Friday. NWS isn’t leaving room for doubt, saying there is a 100 percent chance of snow Thursday.
WHO-TV 13 Meteorologist Brett McIntyre said this morning the start time of storm has now been moved back. Originally, the storm was set to begin before sunrise Thursday. New data this morning shows light snowfall is expected to begin falling in Creston mid-morning.
It will pick up in intensity around noon and the peak time for snowfall will be mid to late afternoon.
“Creston could see 1 to 2 inches of snowfall per hour during the peak times,” Salois said.
Easterly winds are expected to be 15 to 25 mph with gusts reaching 30 mph Thursday. During those peak hours, visibility will reduce to less than 1/4 mile.
“Travel will be terrible,” said Jo Duckworth, Union County Emergency Management coordinator.
That being said, travel will be hazardous on the commute home Thursday afternoon as roadways are expected to be icy and snow packed.
“If you are commuting Thursday afternoon,” Duckworth said, “I suggest you plan on being home a lot earlier or make plans to stay where you are because the roads will be hazardous.”
Snow will continue to fall in the evening hours, but with much less intensity. Salois said winds will diminish throughout the day and snowfall is expected to taper off after midnight. Travel may be hazardous again Friday morning. The high for Friday is expected to be in the mid 20s.
Local school districts will have a tough decision to make Thursday morning as heavy snowfall is expected to fall starting in the late morning. If school is cancelled or dismissed early Thursday the Creston News Advertiser will post that information at www.crestonnews.com and on its Facebook page.
Expected timeline of Thursday’s snowstorm
Mid morning — Snowfall begins in Creston
Noon — Storm picks up in intensity with snowfall increasing and an easterly wind at 15 to 25 mph with gusts reaching 30 mph.
Mid afternoon — Peak time for snowfall will be between now and 5 p.m.; snowfall expected to fall at 1 to 2 inches per hour during this time; A strong wind will continue reducing visibility to under 1/4 mile
Evening— Snow continues to fall, but with much less intensity; Snowfall totals in Creston will range from 8 to 12 inches by Friday morning; Winds diminish throughout the afternoon and snowfall tapers off after midnight.
Car safety tips for Thursday
• Winterize your car
• Let others know your destination
• Be sure to have enough gasoline
• Have extra clothing, blankets, hats and gloves in your trunk
• Pack a shovel and snow chains • Don’t forget your cell phone
Major snowfalls this winter
Dec. 20 — 5 inches of snowfall
Jan. 30 — 4 inches
Feb. 21 — ?
For the first time, The Weather Channel is naming up to 26 winter storms this season, one for each letter of the alphabet, and the storm expected to hit Creston Thursday is named winter storm “Q” after the Q train in New York City.
The Q train operates on one of the main arteries in New York City and is known for its loud rumbling through many local neighborhoods.