OTTUMWA — There was no white Christmas this year, but there will be a white New Year.
Forecasters say central and southern Iowa can expect to ring in 2022 with more than a half-foot of snow. A winter storm watch goes into effect at 6 a.m. on New Year's Day. It includes the southeast half of Iowa, including Wapello County and all of the Courier's coverage area.
Moderate to heavy snowfall is expected, with accumulations ranging from 3 to 8 inches across the state. Heavier snowfall totals are expected toward the Iowa and Missouri border, where in excess of 6 to 8 inches is possible.
The snow is expected to start Saturday morning and continue through the day.
But it's not just the snow. Behind the storm system will be what the National Weather Service terms "dangerous cold."
On Saturday, temperatures will top out in the teens, and winds will be blustery at 15 to 20 mph, which could lessen visibility and snarl traffic further. Saturday night, the low is minus 6 degrees.
On Sunday, the high is 9 degrees, with a low of minus 3. Monday, temperatures are expected to heat up slightly but top out at 32 degrees, meaning the snow that falls Saturday is likely here to stay for a few days.
Temperatures are forecast to be at or below freezing until Tuesday, when the high is 37 degrees.
Forecasters say their confidence is high in predicting accumulating snow on Saturday, but the exact track of the storm could change where the greatest snowfall will come.
Travel will be hazardous on Saturday as roadways become slick. Fallen snow will be easy to blow around, further impacting travel and reducing visibilities.
Those expecting to travel on Saturday are urged to follow the latest weather information for updates.
Those traveling should take steps to winterize their vehicle, and pack an emergency supply kit. Visit weather.gov/winter for more details on traveling safely in winter conditions.