As much as a foot of snow was predicted to fall in Southeast Iowa before Tuesday morning in a storm that also brought strong winds.
Snow began falling in early afternoon and was expected to intensify as the evening progressed.
“A powerful storm system will bring heavy snow, strong and gusty winds, mixed freezing rain and snow, and blowing and drifting snow to the region through Tuesday morning,” the weather service said in a forecast bulletin Monday morning.
Schools throughout the area closed in anticipation of the storm, which was predicted to drop up to a foot of snow.
The snow is expected initially to be heavy and wet. But later, as temperatures drop toward evening, it will turn fluffy — increasing drifting and decreasing visibility.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” the weather service said.
“Afternoon into evening, the systems peak will approach, with a band of very heavy wet snow, gradually transitioning to fluffy snow, mainly centered from Highway 34 to Highway 30,” a National Weather Service forecaster wrote. “Once it sets up, it may not move at all for four hours or more, allowing for very heavy totals through evening. That axis, roughly along Interstate 80 in Iowa, could still see a foot of snow, though most areas are going to be forecast 8-11 inches there, with 5 to 8 inches in our east.”
Snow chances will decline Tuesday, but still will be about 30 percent for Wednesday, the weather service said.
Many cities declared snow emergencies as the snow began piling up.
The city of Washington declared a snow emergency Monday afternoon.
Washington was included in a winter storm warning beginning Monday morning. Snow amounts were estimated to be 6-12 inches when the storm ended early Tuesday morning. The snow emergency was put in place for 10 p.m. on Monday to 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
In issuing this declaration, Mayor Jaron Rosien reminded residents that the primary goal of declaring a snow emergency is effective snow removal.
“I am aware this can be a source of frustration, but Mother Nature is in charge, and we all have to do our part and work together the best we can,” Rosien said.
During a snow emergency, street parking is not allowed. Washington City Ordinance 69.13 reads, “In order to protect public safety and to provide access for emergency vehicles, no person shall park, abandon or leave unattended any vehicle on any public street, alley, or other declared area during any snow emergency proclaimed by the Mayor unless the snow has been removed or plowed from said street, alley, or area and the snow has ceased to fall.”
The parking ban shall continue throughout the duration of the snow or ice storm including the 48-hour period after cessation of the storm except upon streets which have been fully opened. Vehicles found in violation of the Snow Emergency may be ticketed or towed at the owner’s expense.
The city of Fairfield has announced that a snow emergency will be in effect for the Central Business District starting at 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25 and will remain in effect for 48 hours until 8 p.m. Wednesday, or until the street is plowed from curb to curb.
On street parking is prohibited between Second Street to B Street and from Washington Avenue to Hempstead Avenue between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m.
Residents who live downtown can park in one of the city parking lots.
City code requires residents to move cars parked on the street every 24 hours, even when there’s no snowfall. Those who can move their cars into a parking lot or driveway are asked to do so to make it easier for the city to plow the roads. Snow emergencies may be extended or shortened when conditions warrant.