Eastern Iowa road conditions, weather: Brace for snowy afternoon commute

Snowy road conditions may continue into early Wednesday

Published: February 4 2014 | 3:09 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:09 am in

Snow-covered roads, particularly in the southern half of Iowa, could make for a dicey commute home this afternoon.

Travel conditions could be tough into Wednesday, primarily south of Interstate 80, the Iowa Department of Transportation said in a warning to motorists. The agency urged travels to check road conditions, which is mapped on the DOT website, 511ia.org.

The National Weather Services has issued a winter weather advisory for much of eastern Iowa through Wednesday at noon, predicting up to 6 inches of snow and up to 25 mph wind gusts.

Currently, the central part of the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids corridor have roads partially covered in snow. Immediately to the west, and further south near Mount Pleasant and Fairfield, the roads are fully covered. Interstate 80 from exit 205 near Victor all the way to Coralville are also fully covered in snow.

Increasing winds are also complicating matters, according to the statement from the DOT.

The DOT advised to "pack your winter survival kit, fill your vehicle’s fuel tank, and carry a charged cell phone with you" as well as "wearing your seat belt, reducing your speed, allowing plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, and never using cruise control when driving in winter weather."

Watch out for snowplows, which travel at slower speeds, according to the DOT.

Here's additional tips from the DOT in case you become stranded:

1. Pull as far off the road as possible to avoid getting hit by other vehicles.

2. Turn on your vehicle’s warning/flashing lights.

3. Tie a brightly colored cloth on your vehicle’s antenna to attract attention.

4. Call 911 for emergency assistance. Guide emergency personnel to your location by observing any exit numbers, mileposts, crossroads, or landmarks.

5. Remain with your vehicle. Your vehicle provides the shelter necessary to survive and allows you to be found by rescue personnel.

6. Remain calm and be patient. It may take considerable time for someone to reach your vehicle during a storm.

7. Run your vehicle’s engine and heater about 10 minutes every hour, depending upon the amount of gas in the tank.

8. Crack a window in the vehicle to avoid carbon monoxide build-up.

9. Clear away any snow from the vehicle’s tailpipe so the exhaust can escape.

10. Use the resources in your winter survival kit.

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