49 years ago, on December 22-23 1961, the third (and most severe) winter storm of the month struck Iowa with heavy snow and strong northerly winds bringing the state to a standstill and stranding thousands of travelers. Roadways were littered with abandoned vehicles and those stranded took shelter wherever they could. One farm house near Bondurant sheltered 90 people and another near Griswold housed 57. Near Atlantic the blinding blowing snow caused a 10 car pile-up that injured five people. The Des Moines police department estimated that there were 10,000 abandoned vehicles in the city on the evening of the 22nd. At the Des Moines airport 11.1″ of snow was measured on the 22nd, the highest 24-hour amount at that location in more than a decade. Storm totals ranged up to 13.8″ at Guthrie Center and at least 15 fatalities and dozens of injuries were attributed to the storm across Iowa. December of 1961 remains the snowiest on record at many locations, although not in statewide average.
Update on our storm…. The snow will start by the afternoon hours tomorrow. The heaviest snow will fall late Thursday night and early Friday. The snow will end by Friday evening. 3″ to 5″ snow totals area expected over the western 1/2 of Iowa.
Wind will not be a big problem with this storm…and ice is going to stay south of Iowa.
As we have said all week… avoid travel late Thursday through early Friday.
Have a great Wednesday… Ed