Des Moines sets new record as storm dumps more than a foot of snow across central Iowa
Grab your shovels! A "Saskatchewan screamer" dumped record-setting snow across central Iowa and travel headaches that lasted into Saturday.
More than a foot of snow fell in central Iowa Friday into early Saturday morning. Since it continued to snow past midnight, the snowstorm didn't set any new single-day snowstorms records, but it did break a daily record.
Friday's storm broke Des Moines' daily record for snowfall on Jan. 14 with a total of 9.8 inches, according to data from the National Weather Service. Before, the highest snowfall on that day was in 1930 where it snowed a total of 5.7 inches.
The Des Moines Airport got more snow than any other place in Iowa with a total of 14.7 inches, according to the National Weather Service. About 20 minutes northwest, the NWS office in Johnston reported a total of 12.7 inches of snow.
Generally, cities within the metro reported snow totals ranging from 8 inches to 12 inches on Saturday.
Polk City reported a total of 12.9 inches of snow while Ames reported a total of 12 inches around 6 a.m. on Saturday, according to an NWS interactive map, which tracks official and unofficial snowfall totals across the state.
Ringstad and Mystic reported a total of 11 inches of snow while Newton reported 11.5.
Eastern and western parts of the state generally saw 2-5 inches of snow.
A group of friends in Des Moines didn't let the snowy conditions stop them. The six friends get together each week for a round of disc golf, regardless of the weather conditions.
The group completed a round at Des Moines' Grandview Park on Saturday afternoon
Iowa road conditions: Travel issues lingered well into Saturday
The aftermath of the snowstorm left the roads covered, making Saturday a difficult day for travel.
"Since we had that heavy wet snow throughout the beginning of the event and through much of the afternoon, it's going to take some time to get that off of the roads," NWS Meteorologist Ashley Bury said Saturday morning.
Iowa State Patrol reported a total of 119 crashes and 328 motor assists from 5 a.m Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday. The Polk County Sheriff's Office responded to 67 accidents and assists and 11 snow ordinance violation complaints between 4 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday.
The Des Moines Police Department responded to 48 crashes and 47 stalled vehicles from noon Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.
The Iowa Department of Transportation did not advise travel for most of central Iowa until Saturday afternoon.
By 5 p.m., most interstates and highways in central Iowa were reported as partially covered in snow. A few state highways remained completely covered. Interstate 80, near Des Moines' east mixmaster, was closed for a few hours on Saturday due to a multi-vehicle crash but it's now open, according to the Iowa State Patrol.
"I just want to stress that we are going to be seeing, you know, these roads impacting a lot of travel impacts for today," Bury said. "So definitely take it easier and just take your time."
Important weather links for easy reference:
- Iowa road conditions from DOT, which includes information on tow bans
- Airport: Check arrivals/departures
- Power outages: MidAmerican | Alliant | Co-op
- Track DOT's plows on an interactive map
Road conditions and staff availability also closed two COVID-19 testing centers operated by Nomi Health and Des Moines Public Schools, according to a news release. The sites near Hoover High School and the Kurtz Opportunity Center are expected to reopen on Monday.
Looking ahead, Sunday will be mostly cloudy with a temperature high of 32 degrees and wind chill value of minus 5, according to the NWS. It'll be windy throughout the night with gusts as high as 20 miles per hour.
The rest of the week will be mostly sunny, with high temperatures of 33 degrees on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and 37 degrees on Tuesday. Later in the week it'll be cold, with temperature in the teens, but the sky should remain clear, according to the NWS.