Winter storm buries Midwest under foot of travel-snarling snow

·3 min read

A snowstorm that began thumping over the Midwest late in the week roared south-southeastward across the region into Saturday. It buried many communities from North Dakota through Iowa under a foot of snow or more, leaving roads a mess in its wake.

Some of the heaviest snow accumulations were recorded in Iowa, with Des Moines International Airport picking up 14.3 inches of snow from the storm. AccuWeather National Reporter Jillian Angeline reported from the snowy and windy city of Des Moines on Friday, explaining that once the snow started picking up in the afternoon, it accumulated quickly and covered area roadways. AccuWeather Meteorologist Nicole LoBiondo noted that snow rates were as high as 1 to 3 inches per hour across the region.

The Des Moines Police Department told Angeline that they responded to several accidents, including during the morning rush hour on Friday before the heaviest precipitation arrived. Tow bans were also in effect in the state of Iowa on Friday afternoon and overnight, meaning that tow trucks could not respond to calls for people in need of towing unless police called in the request.

This radar image shows snow (blue) spreading southward with rain (green) on the southern flank of the storm early Saturday morning, Jan. 15, 2022. (AccuWeather)

On Friday, Des Moines smashed its daily snowfall record of 5.7 inches set in 1930, with an accumulation of 9.8 inches of snow.

Roads remained in "terrible" condition in many locations early on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service office in Des Moines. Blowing and drifting of snow were making matters worse in the aftermath of the storm. The NWS warned motorists on Saturday to delay traveling if possible and to give road crews "plenty of space to work."

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Other locations in Iowa that measured snowfall totals of a foot or more inlcude Ames and Algina. Meanwhile, to the north, the heaviest accumulations in Minnesota were 10 inches in Garvin and 9 inches in Granite Falls.

A plow camera on Friday afternoon showed snow covering US 212 in Minnesota. (Twitter/Minnesota Department of Transportation).

The storm continued to march on to the south and southeast, spreading moderate to heavy snow across parts of Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois on Saturday. The central Mississippi and Tennessee river valleys experienced its wintry blast of precipitation through Saturday night.

While Fargo, Minneapolis and Des Moines have had multiple storms bring accumulating snow already this winter, that has not necessarily been the case in Missouri. St. Louis did not receive its first accumulating snow until Jan. 2, and that was only 0.1 of an inch. After a high temperature of 59 degrees Wednesday, the Gateway to the West was in for a snap back to reality with snow beginning late Friday night and continuing on Saturday morning.

Regardless of the exact snowfall totals in any given location, travelers will need to factor extra time into their plans.

"Road and airport delays are likely, and motorists will need to slow down and plan for extra travel time to reach their destination," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Jessica Storm.

And the storm is far from over. AccuWeather forecasters expect 100 million Americans to feel the effects of the winter storm through the remainder of the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Several states in the East are bracing for the storm's wintry blow.

Waves of cold are likely to target the northern Plains and Midwest through this week, including another cold spell likely at midweek. But, no other significant snow is in the forecast through much of this week. However, a few bouts of light snow will be possible.

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