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Expected travel conditions in Iowa for remainder of Thursday

This news story was published on December 20, 2012.
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AMES, Iowa – Dec. 20, 2012 – The Iowa Department of Transportation is offering a preview of anticipated travel conditions for the remainder of Thursday and into the overnight hours. A blizzard warning currently remains in effect until 6 p.m.; travel is not expected to significantly improve until later Friday.

Snow will gradually taper off. A northwest wind will be sustained at 25 to 35 mph, with strong gusts. Travelers can expect 50-60 mph wind gusts in the eastern third of the state; 40-50 mph in central Iowa; and 30-35 mph in the western third. Wind chills of 10-20 below zero are forecast for the overnight.

The high winds are particularly problematic for semi-tractors, other high-profile vehicles and vehicles towing trailers.

The Iowa DOT plans to continue its winter maintenance operations throughout the evening. Operations could be hampered somewhat by limited visibility starting at dusk due to the high winds and blowing snow. Snow plow operators will be out in full force Friday morning helping clear the roads for the busy holiday weekend.

The Iowa DOT’s top priority is to maintain travel on the interstate system by assisting with clearance of crash scenes and removal of vehicles blocking the roadway. In addition, crews will be working to provide a plowed wheel path for vehicles to enable safe travel. Nearly 450 vehicles and other snow removal equipment will be assisting with this interstate maintenance effort, as well as snow and ice removal on the rest of the state highway system.

Travel in rural, unprotected areas will remain extremely difficult. Whiteout conditions are to be expected at times. Travelers may encounter drifted roadways when crews struggle to keep roads open on the entire statewide system.

The Iowa DOT is still not advising travel through midnight today in most counties.

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