The Ottumwa Courier

February 20, 2013

Storm alert: Wicked winter weather on its way

CINDY TOOPES
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — Mike O’Hara chuckled when the caller asked about winter shoppers and buying extra shovels.

Few people expect intense winter weather after so much nice weather, but O’Hara said he and his staff at O’Hara Hardware in Ottumwa are ready for customers and their needs when wicked winter weather hits southern Iowa later this week.

And yes, he did stock more Ice Melt and shovels.

“People are getting ready, and I’ve even sold some snow blowers,” O’Hara said Tuesday afternoon.

Meterologist Rod Donavon of the National Weather Service said a winter storm during the day on Thursday is expected to hit Iowa.

“Right now a storm is expected to arrive in Ottumwa around noon Thursday,” Donavon said Tuesday afternoon. “There will be generally light snowfall, which will continue Thursday night.”

By Friday morning, the accumulation could be 4-8 inches. In addition, gusty winds, with the snow, coud reduce visibility, he added.

“The big travel impact will be hazardous roads after Thursday and in the evening,” Donavon said. “It’s a storm system that we’ve been able to track and latch onto as soon as it moved through Alaska.”

Wapello County Engineer Brian Moore said county road crews are ready, “as they always are.

“We just watch for the forecasts, and we’re ready when they come in. This one is nothing different,” he said.

When asked if he knew how many people had come through his store, O’Hara said he hadn’t had a chance to count.

“We’ve had a brisk business, but I haven’t ever started this at such a late date in the year,” O’Hara said.

More winter items were delivered to his store, and he said he was lucky another shipment of several items came in before Thursday’s expected storm

“I’m stocked up and ready for it now,” he said.