Ice Jams on Area Rivers

With the warm temperatures we’ve been having lately across eastern Iowa, there have been several reports of area rivers and streams having ice jams.  Fortunately, this hasn’t lead to much in the way of flooding across eastern Iowa.  However, there have been some issue on the Rock River near the Quad Cities, and the Mississippi River near Burlington.  Read more about ice jams by clicking this link from the National Weather Service in Des Moines.

Here’s a view from the Volga River near Fayette.  Our viewer reports that the water has stay in its banks.

Social pic

We also had a viewer in Clayton County, report standing water in area fields from the Turkey River, just off of Highway 58.

Off of Highway 58 near Millville. (Rod McLane)

Off of Highway 58 near Millville. (Rod McLane)

Off of Highway 58 near Millville. (Rod McLane)

Off of Highway 58 near Millville. (Rod McLane)

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Posted under Ice, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on January 21, 2017

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A look back at the Ice Storm (Jan. 15/16)

We are taking a look back at the ice storm that brought freezing rain to eastern Iowa on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

A strong low pressure system moved from the Pacific Ocean to the Plains, ushering in moisture to the Midwest.  Here is a look at the surface and upper level weather map from Monday morning.  The center of the storm was in Kansas, pumping in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

Morning Surface Map (1/16/17)

Morning Surface Map (1/16/17)

500 weather map

The freezing rain began late Sunday night and continues through about midday on Monday, before temperatures at the surface warmed above 32°.  That created a very slick morning commute.

ice storm

12 PM

Surface temperatures were below freezing, so many of you may be asking why this wasn’t in the form of snow.  The simple explanation: warm air above the ground.  Looking at the surface temperatures, as well as the temperature several thousand feet above the surface.  Here’s just a basic example of how we get snow, sleet and freezing rain (courtesy of the National Weather Service).
snow verticle

sleet

frz rain

Here’s the actual data from the weather balloon sent up Monday morning, from the National Weather Service in Davenport.  Notice the very shallow area of cold air toward the ground, and warm air above.
sounding


Generally, across eastern Iowa, freezing rain totals were 0.10″ to 0.25″.  Some spots in Waterloo/Cedar Falls area received 0.30″.

frz rain totals

While the ice made for some nice pictures, roads and sidewalks were a mess.  Here are several photos sent in by KWWL viewers.

Jason Davis - Denver

Jason Davis – Denver

Jay Elvers - Clayton County

Jay Elvers – Clayton County

Jessica Young - Epworth

Jessica Young – Epworth

Lisa Keppler - Marquette

Lisa Keppler – Marquette

Peggy Driscoll - Dubuque

Peggy Driscoll – Dubuque

Randi White - Guttenberg

Randi White – Guttenberg

Sarah Brandt - north of Bremer

Sarah Brandt – north of Bremer

 

 

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Posted under Ice, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on January 18, 2017

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Freezing Rain Update

An ICE STORM WARNING is in effect for Grundy and Tama counties tonight through Monday evening.  A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for wintry mix and ice is in effect Sunday evening through Monday night for all of eastern Iowa.

Winter Weather Alerts

Tonight: This evening will be mostly cloudy across all of eastern Iowa, ahead of our wintry weather.  Around 4PM and after, snow, sleet, and/or freezing rain will be possible south of I-80.  Around 10 PM, scattered wintry mix and freezing rain will track north to near HWY 20 (Waterloo to Dubuque).  This may be preceded by freezing drizzle.  After midnight, widespread wintry mix and freezing rain is expected across eastern Iowa.  Temperatures will be in the 20s overnight, with a SE wind 5-10 mph.

Commuter Forecast

Monday: Freezing rain is likely during the morning hours, making the morning commute very tricky.  Expect 0.10″ to 0.25″ of ice when all is said and done, with the highest amounts in western portions of the viewing area. A few spots could get 0.30″ of ice.  Between 9AM and Noon, temperatures will begin to warm above freezing, transitioning everything over to rain from south to north. The rain continues into the evening hours.  A half inch to inch of rain is possible across eastern Iowa.  Highs reach the middle and upper 30s with an east wind 5-10 mph.  While isolated power outages and tree damage is possible, it is not expected to be widespread.

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DMA 3D FutureTrack SatRad - RPM 4km

Monday Night: Rain becomes more scattered, and as temperatures slowly drop, there could be a little snow and sleet mixing in at times.  Lows will be in the 20s with a north wind 5-10 mph.

Tuesday: Scattered wintry mix possible in the morning hours, so watch for slick spots.  The afternoon will be cloudy with highs in the middle 30s and a NW wind 5-10 mph.

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Posted under Forecast Discussion, Ice, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on January 15, 2017

Winter Weather Advisory for Sunday Night

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for ice goes into effect Sunday evening.

After a mild day Saturday, Sunday begins in a similar way. Our next system is a slow mover so most of today will be quiet. Clouds track in from the south ahead of a storm that brings wintry mix beginning this evening. Winds stay light as temps rise into the upper 20s and mid 30s.

MW Storm Track

The first to see any form of precipitation will be those to the south. You may see some snow or sleet at first. However, as warm air tracks in, that changes eventually to freezing rain tonight. The wintry mix tracks in from south to north. It continues for most of the evening and even beyond sunrise Monday for many. By late morning, freezing rain turns into all rain with highs warming above freezing for the entire area…and that’s what we’ll have for the rest of Monday.

Ice Forecast DMA Hand

Any lingering rain showers late Monday may have a snow shower mix as the storm tracks away Tuesday morning. Dry weather tracks in for Tuesday afternoon through Thursday.

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Posted under Ice, Winter Weather

This post was written by Rachael Peart on January 15, 2017

Winter Storm Watch for Sunday Night

A WINTER STORM WATCH for ice is in effect Sunday mainly along/south of Highway 20.

Winter Storm Watch

Most of the weekend will be dry, calm and even near average. High pressure hovers over us Saturday and for at least half of Sunday. Highs today will be in the low 20s to low 30s with light northwest winds. Skies will be partly cloudy to mostly cloudy. Overnight, lows fall into the single digits and teens.

Winds make a shift on Sunday and will come from the southeast. That will bring in some warmer air tomorrow, setting up highs that could reach the mid 30s to the south. As our next storm system tracks closer to us, Sunday evening brings wintry mix back into the area. From Sunday evening through Monday afternoon, eastern Iowa can expect to see it all…freezing rain, light snow/sleet mix, and eventually all rain. The main concern (and the reason for the winter storm watch) will be accumulating freezing rain. Less than a quarter of an inch of ice is expected by Monday morning. Once we begin to warm on Monday, freezing rain will change over to all rain and ice will melt.

8pm

Future Track Sunday 8PM

8am

Future Track Monday 8AM

Some light snow could mix with rain Monday night into Tuesday but we’ll remain dry into at least Friday.

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Posted under Ice, Winter Weather

This post was written by Rachael Peart on January 14, 2017

Update on Freezing Rain Late Sunday into Monday

Tonight: The weather remains quiet with a mostly cloudy sky. Not as cold with temperatures holding steady…mainly in the teens.

 

 

DMA Forecast - Tonight NEW

Saturday/Saturday night: Temperatures warm into the 20s with some sunshine and a light wind. Not a bad day compared the recent cold. The air is calm Saturday night with temperatures from 7°-18° (north to south) by Sunday morning.

 

Wind Forecast

 

Sunday/Sunday Night: Dry weather continues until late afternoon (after about 4 PM). Freezing drizzle, sleet and snow moves into areas south of Cedar Rapids. This transitions to freezing rain during the evening and spreads north overnight reaching northern Iowa shortly after midnight. See map below on timing of when freezing rain begins. The wind remains light (5-10 mph) with temperatures in the mid-upper 20s…for highs and lows.

 

MW Storm Track

Winter Storm Watch

Moveable WatchesWarningsAdvisories

Monday/Monday Night: Freezing rain continues in the morning. By late morning, temperatures start warming above freezing and freezing rain transitions to rain. Ice accumulation across eastern Iowa is 0.10”-0.25”. Travel will be difficult in the morning and potentially in the afternoon. The wind is light (5-10 mph) during the day and at night. High temperatures reach the upper 30s by afternoon. Rain gradually tapers off overnight with rain totals 0.50” to 1.00”. A few snow showers might mix in with the rain as it tapers off Monday night.

The map below shows the probability of 0.10″ of ice Sunday evening through Monday evening. 

 

7

 

Tuesday: A few of the rain/snow showers may linger into early Tuesday morning otherwise mostly cloudy as temperatures return to the upper 30s.

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Posted under Forecast Discussion, Ice, Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on January 13, 2017

Winter Storm Watch for Sunday & Monday

WINTER STORM WATCH for ice is in effect beginning Sunday along/south of Highway 20.

Winter Storm Watch

Today: Mostly cloudy and cold.  There may be a few flurries or a light snow shower, however dry air will be in place so the majority of us stay dry.  Highs will be in the teens & 20s, NE wind 5-10 mph.

Tonight: The sky remains mostly cloudy, with a few breaks north.  Lows will be in the teens and hold steady toward morning.  Winds will be east at 5 mph.

Saturday/Sat. Night: We can call Saturday the “calm before the storm.”  We will have a partly cloudy to mostly cloudy sky with highs temperatures in the middle 20s to lower 30s and wind N 5-10 mph.

MW Storm Track

Approximate timing of the freezing rain Sunday night & Monday

Sunday/Sun. Night: We are tracking a storm forecast to bring freezing rain to the area late in the afternoon or evening across southern Iowa.  There could be a little bit of light snow and/or sleet to start out. It will spread north across Iowa overnight. Icy roads should be expected making travel very difficult.  Fortunately, the wind will not be too strong so we are not expecting major issues with damaged trees/power lines.

Monday/Tuesday: Freezing rain continues through mid-morning, as temperatures will remain below 32°. Ice accumulations of 0.10″ to 0.25″ will make travel very difficult. Weak tree limbs might break with this ice and a 10-15 mph wins. Temperatures warm above 32° by mid to late morning, which would switch everything to just rain.  Expect ponding on the roadways as the rain continues in the afternoon. The rain lightens up Monday night as temperatures cool off. The rain will change to light snow and tapers off Tuesday morning.

Here’s a look at the probability of seeing at least a tenth of an inch of ice by Monday morning.  Most areas across eastern Iowa will receive 0.10″ to 0.25″ of ice accumulation.

ice

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Posted under Forecast Discussion, Ice, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on January 13, 2017

Precipitation Type

Here is a look at how the different precipitation types form. Way up in the sky the air is below freezing (below 32°F or 0°C). In some cases there is a warm layer closer to the ground. Exactly how thick that warm layer is and how close to the ground impacts the type of precipitation we receive.

I will start with snow (left side of the graphic below). As the snowflake above falls toward the ground, the temperature through out the travel toward the ground remains below freezing not allowing it to melt. So the snowflake stays a snowflake from top to bottom.

Now for sleet. The snowflake falls through a warm layer (above freezing) and the snow melts and turns to a raindrop. The raindrop than falls through a pretty thick layer of cold air. This allows the raindrop to freeze. By the time it reaches the ground it is sleet.

Compare that with freezing rain. That same warm layer is now thicker leaving a very small layer near the ground below freezing. There is less time for the raindrop to freeze and turn to sleet so it falls as rain and freezes on impact to anything on the ground.

Now if that layer is above freezing all the way to the ground it stays as rain and doesn’t freeze. The air closest to the ground is above freezing and the ground is above freezing. The result would be rain.

Precip Type

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Posted under Education, Educational, Ice, Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on January 12, 2017

Light Snow/Flurries Fri….Freezing Rain Sun PM-Mon

Tonight: The sky becomes mostly cloudy overnight and cold. Low temperatures in the single digits below zero north and single digits above zero in the south. Wind chills of -10 to -20 late tonight.

DMA Forecast - Tonight NEW

 

Friday: The sky remains mostly cloudy with a small chance of a snow shower or flurries from time to time. Little to no accumulation is expected. Another cold day with highs in the teens and low 20s.

 

Wind Forecast

 

Friday: Night: Temperatures remain steady from the highs on Friday under a mostly cloudy sky.

Saturday: A little warmer as temperatures inch their way up into the mid 20s. Still a mostly cloudy sky.

Sunday/Sunday Night: We are tracking a storm forecast to bring freezing rain to the area late in the afternoon or evening across southern Iowa. It will spread north across Iowa overnight. Icy roads should be expected making travel difficult.

 

Winter Storm WatchMoveable WatchesWarningsAdvisoriesMW Storm Track

 

Monday/Tuesday: Freezing rain continues through the morning. Ice accumulations of 0.10” to 0.25” will make travel difficult. Weak tree limbs might break with this ice and a 10-15 mph. Temperatures warm into the upper 30s in the afternoon as rain continues…as of this point it is not expected to be freezing rain in the PM. The rain lightens up Monday night as temperatures cool off. The rain will change to light snow and tapers off Tuesday morning. Snow accumulations will be light…if any.

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Posted under Forecast Discussion, Ice, Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on January 12, 2017

Now that is a lot of snow

Mammoth Mountain is in California.

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Posted under Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on January 11, 2017