National Weather Service predicts major winter storm, schools close in Johnson and Linn counties, North Liberty bans on-street parking (Updated)

Courtesy of the City of North Liberty

Update: On Friday afternoon, the city of Cedar Rapids declared a snow emergency, starting at 7 pm on Friday and lasting until 7 pm on Saturday. During the emergency period, there will only be limited on-street parking on posted Snow Emergency Routes. Vehicles parked on the posted routes may be ticketed or towed. The city has both a list and a map of the routes available online.

Early Friday morning, the National Weather Service office in the Quad Cities issued a winter storm warning for 18 eastern Iowa counties, including Johnson and Linn.

Widespread accumulating snow and a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain at times, will spread across the area from mid to late morning through Saturday morning. Snow accumulations of 2 to 5 inches are likely, along with ice accumulations of up to two tenths of an inch. Locally higher amounts of snow may occur in areas that remain in snow for longer durations and at higher snowfall rates. There also may be a period of sleet accumulation. Strong southeast winds gusting up to 30 to 35 MPH this afternoon and evening when combined with the falling precipitation will further reduce visibilities and cause dangerous traveling conditions.

By Saturday morning, very strong northwest winds gusting to 40 to 45 MPH will lead to blowing and drifting snow with greatly reduced visibility. These winds will combine with falling temperatures to produce wind chills down to 10 below zero to 20 below zero during the evening hours Saturday.

The warning takes effect at noon on Friday and lasts until 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Shortly after issuing the winter storm warning, the NWS issued a supplementary Hazardous Weather Outlook for Friday for an area including the 18 counties covered by the earlier warning.

“Periods of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain are expected today and tonight as a complex winter storm moves across the region. Impacts from this storm will be blowing snow, hazardous traveling conditions, sporadic power outages, downed tree branches, and well below zero wind chills,” according the NWS. “Whiteout conditions will also be possible at times in open rural areas.”

In response to the winter storm warning, the City of North Liberty is banning on-street parking, just as it did following a similar warning from the NWS last week. The ban, which goes into effect at noon on Friday and lasts until noon on Saturday, in intended to facilitate snow removal from the streets.

Vehicles left on the streets “may be ticketed and towed without notice,” according to a city press release. “Each 12-hour period that a vehicle is parked or remains on any public street in violation of this ordinance constitutes a separate and distinct offense.”

As did last week, the city will provide options for residents who don’t have access to off-street parking: “Off-street parking for those without available garage, driveway or other paved parking space is available in the south lot at the North Liberty Community Center, 520 W. Cherry Street, closest to the building, Quail Ridge Park, 931 W. Zeller Street, and Penn Meadows Park, 310 N. Dubuque Street, in the south parking lot.”

Other area cities haven’t imposed parking bans ahead of the predicated bad weather, but the forecast led the Iowa City School District, the Cedar Rapids Community School District and the Linn-Mar Community School District to cancel classes and other school activities on Friday.

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