Winter’s last gasp? Well, maybe …

By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

This past weekend absolutely had to be the last gasp of winter, right?

Well, maybe not.

One more cold breath of snow is expected this week.

The National Weather Service (NWS) reports that a winter storm watch is in effect from late Tuesday night through late Wednesday night this week, and Charles City is right smack in the middle of it.

Precipitation is expected to start off as a rain/snow mix late Tuesday evening. Throughout Wednesday morning, cooler air will spill southward, gradually changing all the precipitation over to wet snow.

The morning drive looks either wet or sloppy, depending on what’s falling; whatever is left for the evening drive would be snow, but it will be getting lighter by that point.

Far northern Iowa has the best chance of the higher accumulations once again, from Decorah to Charles City, with amounts dropping off south of there. Total snow accumulations of 4-6 inches and ice accumulations of a light glaze are possible.

The watch area covers portions of north central and northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota. Counties include Floyd, Mitchell, Howard and Chickasaw in Iowa and Dodge, Olmsted, Mower and Fillmore in Minnesota. The area includes the cities of Charles City, Osage, Cresco, and New Hampton in Iowa and Dodge Center, Rochester, Austin, and Preston in Minnesota.

The NWS said to plan on difficult travel conditions, including during the morning and evening commutes Wednesday. Significant reductions in visibility are possible.

There still may be some shifts in the storm track between now and Wednesday which will dictate precipitation types and where the higher amounts will fall.

This past weekend was the third major winter storm event to hit the Charles City area since the first day of spring.

Strong winds gusted in excess of 50 miles per hour on Friday night and Saturday morning, sleet, freezing rain and some wet, heavy “thundersnow” arrived Saturday afternoon, then softer snow coated the area Saturday evening and throughout the day Sunday, into Sunday night — with snow totals somewhere between 3-5 inches.

There are no major weather events expected for the few days after this week’s storm. Daytime high temperatures are expected to be in the mid-to-upper 40s Thursday through Saturday, warming to the mid-50s this weekend.

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