- A portion of I-35 in Des Moines was closed.
- At least two airlines issued a travel advisory for airports in the South, Midwest.
- Schools closed in Des Moines and some other districts in Iowa.
- Residents in affected areas are asked to stay home.
Residents in some areas are being asked to stay home, schools are closed and airlines are preparing for delays as a winter storm threatens to bring snow, ice, wind and frigid temperatures across a wide swath of the U.S. over the upcoming holiday weekend.
Des Moines Public Schools canceled classes today. Several other school districts in Central Iowa also called off school or announced early dismissals.
More than 200 plows were on the roads, mostly in the middle and northwest parts of the state, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Roads were already slick in the early morning and the Iowa State Patrol asked motorists in affected areas to stay home if possible.
Kansas City’s snowplow map showed crews active on several city streets Friday morning. Some schools in the region closed Thursday and Friday, but that was due to issues related to COVID-19.
Southwest Airlines extended a travel advisory to major airports in several southern cities and said change fees would be waived for flights on Saturday or Sunday. Affected airports include Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Greenville-Spartanburg, Little Rock, Memphis and Nashville and Raleigh-Durham.
The airline had previously issued an advisory for Friday and Saturday in parts of the Midwest and said it would waive change fees for flights to, from, or through airports in Des Moines, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Omaha and St. Louis.
Delta issued similar advisories for multiple airports it serves in the Southeast, as well as Minneapolis-St. Paul.
“This storm will bring significant impacts from snow, sleet and freezing rain in different parts of the state, with likely power outages and travel disruptions,” Cooper said in a news release. “North Carolinians should pay close attention to their local weather forecast over the next few days, and make sure they are personally prepared before Saturday afternoon.”
The storm was named Izzy by The Weather Channel.
“This quick-moving winter storm will dive southeastward from the Dakotas to the Ozarks from Friday into early Saturday with a quick hit of snow. A narrow zone of 5-10” of snow is expected from the eastern Dakotas to northern Missouri,” weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Belles said Thursday evening.
Then the storm will barrel into the Southeast.
“This will lead to snow for some and ice for others, and for parts of Georgia and the Carolinas, it means rapidly changing conditions from snow to ice and possibly back again,” Belles said. “Saturday and Sunday will be nasty for driving in some of these spots, but the last part of the holiday weekend on Monday will give some drier and warmer weather. Be prepared for bad road conditions and the possibility of losing power from north Georgia to the inland Carolinas.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation has more than 50,000 tons of salt and about 46,000 tons of gravel on hand, as well as 407 snow removal dump trucks.
“Winter weather is predicted in North Georgia and metro Atlanta this weekend. GDOT is preparing brine operations, equipment, materials, and staff to respond to the threat,” the agency said in a tweet. “We will continue to monitor conditions as the storm evolves.”
A GDOT official told The Weather Channel Thursday that people in affected areas should stay home and avoid travel.
In the Richmond, Virginia, area crews were prepping equipment and pretreating interstates and other major roadways Thursday.
Snow, possibly mixed with sleet and freezing rain, will also spread into the mid-Atlantic states Sunday, then into much of the rest of the Northeast Sunday night.
While shoppers stocked up on the usual bread, milk and other goods, one expert warned that the storm could impact the already stressed U.S. supply chain.
”From an impact perspective, with this kind of weather scenario, all it would take is an accident or two for major Interstate closures to occur,” Francisco Alvarez, lead meteorologist for trucking network Convoy, told weather.com in an email Thursday.
Alvarez cited Midwest highways as a major concern, for example
“Basically if you could make a box between Omaha, Sioux Falls, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Des Moines, that will be the most dangerous travel area for truckers,” as Izzy moves through the region, he said.
All drivers need to be aware in areas that the storm will pass through.
Here are some driving safety tips and other winter storm advice issued ahead by the South Carolina Department of Emergency Management ahead of the storm:
-Avoid unnecessary travel in affected areas. If you must travel, make sure your vehicle is in good working condition, your cell phone is charged and extra blankets and snacks are packed in case of delays.
-If you lose power, know how to report the outage to your utility company and have alternate, safe means of staying warm.
-Wrap exposed pipes or take other measures to insulate them from the cold and prevent freezing, which causes pipes to burst.
-If you have a fireplace, have plenty of dry seasoned wood.
-Winter is the most active season for house fires. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
-Practice proper carbon monoxide safety: Vent kerosene heaters, do not burn charcoal indoors and keep portable generators outdoors away from windows and doors.
-Have a stock of batteries.
-Keep pets and domestic animals in a warm place with access to food and water.
-Check on anyone who may need extra help during winter weather.
The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.