At this hour, the National Weather Service has put a Blizzard Warning into effect for the listening area. Winds overnight have been in the 20 mile per hour range, but are expected to increase to nearly 44 miles per hour after 9am out of the northwest. Precipitation is expected to increase in the form of heavy snow. Meteorologists are calling for 6 to 10 inches of snow before the system moves out of the area around midnight tonight. The Blizzard Warning is expected to remain in force from 8am until 6am on Friday.
Forecasters predict that this will be a very heavy wet snow that may fall at a rate of 2 inches per hour in some locations. A widespread band of 5 to 10 inches is anticipated to stay over the area for the duration of the day with minor sleet amounts forecasted for this morning. Forecasters think that there may even be thunder associated with the storms that move through. Because of the consistency of the snow, it is expected to stick to trees and power lines, potentially causing damage once the winds increase.
A Blizzard Warning means that conditions are favorable for whiteout conditions to exist causing roads to be snow covered and very hazardous. Weather officials are recommending that travel be extremely limited, but it would be best not to travel at all. They also recommend that all vehicles be equipped with a winter survival kit. If you get stranded while traveling, stay in your vehicle.
Cities such as Britt, Ventura, Belmond, Buffalo Center, and several other locations are asking residents to trickle their water to prevent the water lines from freezing. The water lines that officials have noticed that are freezing are the ones coming from the main line. Frost has formed as deep at 20 inches causing lines to chill and freeze. By keeping the water running at roughly the width of a pencil, the lines will not freeze. However, officials are saying that those individuals who are not home and are away on vacation or in winter homes to the south, will probably suffer issues with their lines due to stagnation in the lines.
Keep tuned to KIOW for further details about the storm.