Happy first day of winter, folks! This one is shaping up to be a good one or a bad one, depending on how you look at it. But tonight and for the next few days, Old Man Winter is going to bring the intense winter weather to Iowa, the Quad Cities, and the northern half of Illinois. Get ready for snow, extreme wind, and incredibly dangerous wind chill temps as counties in the Quad Cities are now under a Winter Storm Warning.

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The National Weather Service of the Quad Cities has upgraded most of the counties in the Quad Cities area to a Winter Storm Warning.

Officials said that Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the entire area starting today and will last through Saturday. We should expect 3 to 6 inches of snow to fall through Thursday, then strong northwest winds gusting between 40 to 50 mph Thursday through Friday night.

NWS officials say the snow and wind will lead to significant holiday travel impacts. Travel will become difficult, if not impossible, in rural and open areas because of the blizzard-like conditions.

Winter Storm Timeline

Here is the timeline graphic from the National Weather Service of the Quad Cities of the storm as it impacts the Quad Cities area over the next few days and into Christmas weekend.

How Much Snow Will We Get?

Even though the National Weather Service of the Quad Cities says the area will see 3-6 inches of snow, that will mainly be north of the Quad Cities metro in Jackson, Dubuque, Clinton, and Jones counties in Iowa.

The Quad Cities metro will see between 2-4 inches of snowfall, according to officials.

Extreme Wind Chills Will Follow The Snow

Additionally, expect dangerously cold wind chills, with values of -20° to -40° starting midday Thursday through Saturday morning. The extreme cold is expected to kick in starting midday on Thursday.

You can see how cold the wind chill is thanks to this fancy chart from the National Weather Service:

Gusty winds could bring down tree branches, leading to power outages. The dangerously cold wind chills as low as -40° could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.


Original: 12/20/22

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service of the Quad Cities upgraded select counties in Eastern Iowa to a Winter Storm Warning, and no, that's not an upgrade you want.

What's The Difference With Watches, Advisories, & Warnings?

First of all, what is the difference between a Winter Storm Watch, Winter Storm Advisory, Winter Storm Warning, and a Blizzard Warning? Here are the definitions, according to the National Weather Service:

  • Winter Storm Watch - BE AWARE!
    • A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is the potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours. It does not mean that significant and hazardous winter weather will occur, it only means it is possible.
  • Winter Weather Advisory - BE AWARE!
    • A Winter Weather Advisory will be issued when potentially dangerous winter weather is expected within the next 12 to 36 hours or is occurring. Travel difficulties are expected
  • Winter Storm Warning - TAKE ACTION
    • A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a significant combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent. That means dangerous winter weather is expected within the next 12 to 36 hours or is occurring. Major travel problems are expected in a Winter Storm Warning.
  • Blizzard Warning - TAKE ACTION
    • Similar to the advisory and the warning, a Blizzard Warning is when severe winter weather is expected within 12 to 36 hours or is happening. This includes whiteout conditions and no, a Blizzard Warning doesn't mean it's snowing like crazy but it means do not travel.

Portion Of Eastern Iowa Under A Winter Storm Warning

Don't be surprised if more counties get added to this list. My feeling is that the counties that were recently upgraded to a Winter Weather Warning have a more solid shot at terrible winter weather than others.

Uber Passenger Hit With $600 Charge After Getting Stuck in Snow Storm
Getty Images

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service of the Quad Cities announced that the majority of counties in Iowa will be going into a Winter Storm Warning on Wednesday, Dec. 21 from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24. The following counties have NOT been moved to a Winter Storm Warning as of 3:18 p.m.:

  • Scott
  • Clinton
  • Muscatine
  • Louisa
  • Des Moines
  • Lee
  • Van Buren
  • Henry

The National Weather Service of the Quad Cities officials said in the announcement that heavy snow is expected with total snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches. Winds could gust as high as 55 mph and blizzard conditions will also be possible. People should expect extreme cold wind chills as well. Wind chills as low as -30° to -40° below will be possible. The extreme cold is expected to kick in starting midday on Thursday.

You can see how cold the wind chill is thanks to this fancy chart from the National Weather Service:

Am I Going To Be Able To Travel For Christmas?

As Kevin and Kyle at KWQC have said, you're going to want to finish shopping for both presents and groceries before Wednesday. If you're traveling out of town to see family, you might want to push celebrating back a bit especially if you're traveling from Wednesday night to even Saturday morning.

Photo by Isaac Martin on Unsplash
Photo by Isaac Martin on Unsplash

The National Weather Service of the Quad Cities says that travel could be very difficult and a long-duration storm event. Officials say to plan travel around the peak hours of the storm either before it gets here or after. Plan on slippery road conditions. Widespread blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.

Beware too that the strong winds could cause tree damage and potential power outages, the National Weather Service of the Quad Cities said. Check on loved ones and make sure your vehicle and home are prepared before this storm gets here.

Make Sure You Are Prepared!

Take a look at this list and make sure you have the following items at home and in your car!

Keep scrolling for a full list with photos.

Essential Winter Emergency Kit Items

Winter season in the Quad Cities means cold temperatures, heavy snow, and slick roads. Hopefully, you won't ever need to tap into your winter emergency kit, but it's better to have one in your car than to be unprepared. Make sure you have these essential items in your car before winter arrives in the Quad Cities.

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