DES MOINES —
The first winter storm of the season for southeast Iowawill likely pack a bigger punch than first expected.
The National Weather service has put Wapello, Davis, Appanoose, Monroe, Mahaska and Marion counties, along with much of central Iowa, all under a blizzard warning. The storm is expected to bring 9 inches or more of snow beginning tonight to much of the area.
Current forecasts show Wapello County right on the line between major snow accumulations and much, much lower amounts. The NWS map of forecast snowfall amounts shows as much as 10.6 inches expected in northern Wapello County, but that drops to around 5 inches in the county's southern part.
The heaviest band of snow is expected to run in a line from roughly Sigourney to Dubuque. Totals in that area are expected to easily top 10 inches, with Dubuque potentially reaching 15 inches or more of snow.
In Ottumwa, 3-7 inches is expected to fall overnight, with an additional 2-4 inches tomorrow.
Centerville is expected to see 2-4 inches of snow overnight, with another 1-3 inches of snow tomorrow.
Oskaloosa's forecast calls for 6-10 inches of snow overnight and another 1-3 inches of snow Thursday.
The hardest-hit cities in the area will likely be Pella and Knoxville. Both are forecast to receive 7-11 inches of snow overnight. Pella's Thursday forecast includes another 1-3 inches of snow, while Knoxville is expected to see an additional 1-2 inches.
Strong winds are expected to follow the storm, with wind chills Thursday night dropping as low as -10 in southeast Iowa. At that point, frostbite can occur in under a half-hour of exposure.
The situation remains fluid and minor shifts in the storm could have major effects on accumulations. You can follow the progress of the storm with the National Weather Service's winter weather monitor.