'SLOW DOWN': Multiple crashes reported on icy I-35 between Ankeny and Ames
As a winter storm approaches the state, Iowa weather, transportation, and law enforcement officials urge caution as roads are slick with black ice, resulting in numerous crashes.
Sgt. Alex Dinkla, a spokesperson for the Iowa State Patrol, estimated at least 15 to 20 crashes occurred on Interstate 35 between Ankeny and Ames, some with injuries. An Iowa Department of Transportation vehicle was also struck while a department captain was assisting a motorist in the area, according to the Iowa State Patrol. The captain was not injured.
Official totals won't be confirmed until tomorrow morning, but Dinkla said they've also received multiple crash reports in Adair, Cass, and Pottawattamie Counties
Southbound Interstate 35 near Roland and westbound Interstate 80 near Minden closed Friday afternoon due to a tractor-trailers "being jack-knifed and blocking roadways," Dinkla said. Those portions of the interstate have since reopened.
"We're asking people to stay home," Dinkla said.
- Des Moines could see up to 8 inches of snow on New Year's Day; wind chill advisory in northern Iowa
- Frostbite is a serious risk for Iowans this weekend. Here's how to prepare for bitter cold.
Expect a high of just 8 degrees on Saturday in Des Moines, and a low of minus 8, according to the National Weather Service. Sunday will reach about 10 degrees, with a low of minus 2.
Much of the southern half of the state will be under a winter storm watch Saturday, when snow — up to 10 inches, according to the NWS — will accompany the frigid temperatures.
Central to southern Iowa is on track to receive 4 to 9 inches of snow Saturday, while areas near the Missouri border may see 6 to 10 inches. The watch calls for dry, powdery snow, which paired with strong winds could cause drifting that may affect traffic.
Des Moines is expected to receive 5 to 8 inches of snow, according to the NWS.
A wind chill advisory will be in effect starting at 9 p.m. Friday for northern Iowa, where wind chills could dip as low as 35 degrees below zero through Sunday morning. In such conditions, the NWS warns that frostbite could occur within 10 to 30 minutes on exposed skin or areas with inadequate clothing.