Rain changing to snow Friday, eight to 12 inches possible

Photo by Jim Elias

Forecasters are calling for rain changing to snow on Friday, with the potential for a glaze of ice in between, and total accumulations from eight to 12 inches.

The National Weather Services has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Friday evening through late Saturday night.

“We will wait and see what the forecast is tomorrow morning,” Randy Howell, Roadway Maintenance Supervisor for the City of Muscatine, said. “When we have a better idea of what we can expect, we will sit down with the staff and make plans so that we are all on the same page.”

The variety of potential precipitation concerns Howell and he urges drivers to use extreme caution this weekend.

“If we do get some ice underneath the snow it is going to be slicker than you realize,” Howell said. “Drivers just need to slow down and use caution.”

The Quad Cities office of the National Weather Service sees an increasing threat for wintry precipitation across the area Friday and Saturday beginning with widespread rain, changing to freezing rain and sleet Friday night and early Saturday, and then all snow Saturday through Saturday evening. There is also the potential for blowing snow Saturday night. Exact amounts and type of precipitation are uncertain at the present time but Muscatine is in the area with the highest potential for the heaviest snowfall.

While Director of the Department of Public Works Brian Stineman does not anticipate Muscatine declaring a snow emergency, he does suggest that residents can assist with snow removal operations by avoiding parking on the street over the weekend or adhering to the “alternate side of street” parking plan specified in the City of Muscatine Snow Emergency Ordinance.

The “alternate side of parking” plan allows vehicles to be parked on the odd-numbered side of the street on odd-numbered days, and on the even-numbered side of the street on even-numbered days. On all streets where parking is allowed on one side only, if the permitted side (where parking is allowed) is even numbered, vehicles can park on that side only on even-numbered days. If the permitted side (where parking is allowed) is odd-numbered, vehicles can park on that side only on odd-numbered days. No parking is ever allowed on the side of the street where parking is prohibited by posted sign.

“It really helps our plow crews to clear the streets quicker if people would not park on the street during heavy snowfall events,” Stineman said. “Whether we have a snow emergency or not, any help the public can provide by parking off the street or using the parking plan is appreciated.”

· A Winter Storm Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for significant winter weather and/or blizzard conditions. Time to prepare.
· A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a combination of heavy snow, blowing snow, and possibly ice mixed with snow is expected to impact the area. Time to act.
· A Blizzard Warning is issued when the combination of strong wind, low visibility, and heavy snow will significantly impact daily life.