Conditions improving as winds ease, slick roads still possible

Published: Dec. 24, 2022 at 10:09 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Travel conditions in eastern Iowa will remain somewhat tricky through Saturday, but notable improvement is expected as wind gusts continue to slowly diminish.

Compared to the gusts of 40 to 50 mph on Friday, Christmas Eve will bring gusts in the 25 to 35 mph range. This is certainly still enough to cause some blowing and drifting of snow, especially in open areas. However, widespread blizzard conditions with near-zero visibility are much less likely due to reduced wind speeds. Temperatures have also shown some improvement, with wind chill readings generally expected between -15 to -30.

Roadways that were closed by the Iowa Department of Transportation, including Interstate 35 in central Iowa, are starting to reopen. Plows are returning to highways as visibility has improved, allowing plow drivers to safely complete their jobs.

Despite these positive signs, you will still need to take care if choosing to travel today. Prepare for changing road conditions, with clear pavement likely for stretches and other parts with snow and ice. Rural highways and roads will be the most difficult to travel on through the day. In areas of blowing snow or slick roadways, reduce speed and following distance. Strong winds will be able to push your vehicle around, especially high-profile vehicles, so make sure to stay attentive and keep both hands on the wheel.

Frostbite can occur in less than 15 to 30 minutes in this cold, so make sure you dress appropriately. Cover exposed skin, especially ears and nose, and try to limit time outside if possible. Hat, gloves, scarves, and heavy coats will all be needed during this time.

Take a winter survival kit in your vehicle if you must travel, which could include:

  • Full Tank of Gas
  • Jumper cables or jump pack
  • Cell phone charger
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight with Batteries
  • Blankets to keep warm
  • Bottled water and nonperishable snacks
  • Shovel, Ice Scraper, Snow Brush
  • Emergency flares
  • Sand or cat litter for traction
  • Coat, Hat, Scarf, and Boots for all Travelers

As an additional heads up, a quick-moving storm system will be moving through the area by Sunday evening and night, lasting into early Monday. This will likely deposit 1 to 3 inches of snow across most of the area, bringing a renewed round of slick roadways. If you have plans to travel back from the Christmas holiday weekend at that time, use caution and allow yourself extra time to get to your destination.