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Snow covered roads cause travel headaches in northern Iowa

AMES, Iowa – Jan. 20, 2012 – Moderate to heavy snow and increasing winds have created dangerous travel conditions on highways in northeast Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT).

The Iowa State Patrol is reporting most roads north of Interstate 80 as partially or mostly snow covered. Travel is not advised on U.S. 52 and Iowa 9 in the Decorah area.

According to Iowa DOT forecasts, additional snow accumulations of generally 1 to 3 inches will be possible across the south, with an additional 3 to 6 inches possible across parts of the north and east, by this evening. Dry conditions are then expected to return to the state for Saturday. Saturday night into Sunday, a low pressure system will bring the next chance for snow or a wintry mix.

A National Weather Service Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. for the northeast one-quarter of the state. Easterly winds are expected to increase overnight in this area, decreasing visibility of one-half mile or less. The wind, combined with frigid temperatures will cause dangerous wind chill values.

If you must travel during severe winter weather, the Iowa DOT offers the following suggestions.

  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank. Before traveling in winter weather, always keep your vehicle’s gas tank nearly full and make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition.
  • Use your vehicle’s safety equipment. Your vehicle’s headlights are a valuable asset when driving in winter weather. Turn them on to see and be seen. Make sure you and your passengers are wearing their seat belts or are in a child safety seat.
  • Never use cruise control during winter weather. Your vehicle’s cruise control sensors may not work properly if the tires are traveling on packed snow or ice. This can cause your vehicle to increase speed and increase the danger of a crash.
  • Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle. This kit should contain items to help sustain your life and the lives of your passengers should your vehicle become stranded. These items can include: booster cables, candles and matches, a flashlight with fresh batteries, extra blankets and warm clothes, nonperishable food items, a can for melting water, and a snow shovel. Sufficient supplies should be in the kit for all persons traveling in the vehicle.

The Iowa DOT is advising travelers to carefully monitor weather and road conditions. For traveler information, visit, call 511 (within Iowa) or 800-288-1047 (nationwide), or follow us on Twitter @StatewideIA511.

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