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Iowa Winter Weather Awareness Day

November 7th is Iowa’s Winter Weather Awareness Day. The day was created to help prepare you for the season ahead.

As you know, Old Man Winter has already paid several visits this year so we’ve had to put our winter survival skills in place.

Before we get into some of the terminology you might hear throughout the season, we’ll start you out with some basic winter driving safety tips.

Here are some items to have in your car just in case you get stranded on the roads this winter. If you do get stuck, there are steps you need to take to get the help you need.

    

The average first inch of snow does not usually happen until late November or early December. This year we are ahead of the game with the first inch happening in October. (By the way, snow ‘years’ run from July 1 through June 30).

With three rounds of accumulating so far for the 2019-2020 winter season, we are off to a running start for the seasonal totals.

When snow is in the forecast, often times you will see different types of advisories (watch/warning/advisory) depending on how much snow or ice is expected. But what exactly do they mean? Here are a few definitions you need to know.

Another product we don’t see too often is an Ice Storm Warning. This warning is issued when freezing rain accumulation of a quarter inch or more is expected within the next 24 to 48 hour period. This leads to dangerous travel and the potential for tree and powerline damage.

A new warning that was introduced earlier this month by the National Weather Service: Snow Squall Warning.
This will not be issued much, but when certain conditions warrant, NWS will put out the warning. It will be similar to a Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm Warning, in that a small area will be impacted, and it will only last 30 to 60 minutes at a time.

A snow squall is a period of quick, intense bursts of snow accompanied by gusty winds that create low visibility and hazardous travel. This can leads to potential chain reacation crashes, similar to the incident back in Feburary on I-35 near Ames.

With the winter months comes bouts of colder temperatures. Frostbite and hypothermia can be a concern. Here are the signs of each, and prevention tips.

    

We often use the wind chill to describe how cold it actually feels to your skin. It’s basically a calculation of what temperature it feels like given the combination of wind and actual air temperature. This only impacts humans and animals. It does not affect plants or inanimate objects such as your vehicle or home.

Stick with KWWL throughout the winter season to stay up to date with the latest conditions and forecast. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter and of course get the latest forecast on our website. You can also download the FREE Storm Track 7 Weather App for hourly forecasts, as well as video forecasts updated multiple times each day.

Click here for more winter information from the National Weather Service in Des Moines.

 

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Kyle Kiel

Meteorologist

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