Iowans: Prepare for Major and Lengthy Deep Freeze
You can't say I didn't warn you. Early last week I cautioned of an extended period of below normal temperatures, perhaps as long as six weeks, that CBS 2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails was seeing in long-range weather models. Here we go (sigh).
Average high temperatures this time of year for Cedar Rapids are in the upper 20's (28.3 degrees for January 23), with normal lows of about 11 degrees. And we're slowly supposed to be starting to warm up. Not this year.
Swails says the cold is ready to set in, and more snow is on the way too. Let's begin with Thursday, where the temperatures won't be the star. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph, which may cause major blowing and drifting of snow, producing both visibility issues and slick roadways. High temperatures are expected to reach about 12 degrees. However, by the time you make the afternoon commute, we'll likely be around zero. Both Friday and Saturday morning, we could see actual low temperatures around -20. The record lows for those two days are:
Friday, January 25: -23 (1894)
Saturday, January 26: -18 (1936)
After today, the warmest high temperature in the next week is Monday, January 28 with a high expected to be around 15 degrees. Next Tuesday we may see a high temperature below zero and next Thursday (1/31) morning really bears watching. Terry's models currently suggest a low around -35, with wind chills between 50-55 below zero. That's the actual temperature, which would be the lowest in Cedar Rapids history. The lowest temperature ever is -29 in 2009.
It seems like a good time to get our car batteries checked, make sure we have washer fluid with de-icer, and confirm our anti-freeze is safe to -30 (which, hopefully, will be low enough!).
Oh, and that snow I mentioned earlier? The chance is there for small amounts (possibly one to three inches) both Friday and Saturday night but Terry has his eyes on the possibility of another significant snowmaker Sunday night into Monday. Just where that will track is still unknown but let's hope it ISN'T here. I'll tell you this, Santa Claus is glad he got his work done last month. Not even he can bear to hear this forecast.