Iowa December 29, 2019
10 Years Ago, Iowa Was Hit With One Of The Worst Blizzards In History
Do you remember the rough winter of 2009? It all started with a record-setting blizzard that rolled in on the night of December 8th. It was so early in the winter, and many people were caught completely off guard by the blizzard as it roared into the Hawkeye State.
Here's something you don't see that often. All of Iowa's 99 counties were under a blizzard warning by 5 p.m. on December 8th, 2009 — but many had no idea just how bad the approaching storm would be.
The National Weather Service in Des Moines sent out a warning calling it an "epic" blizzard, and it came with lightning, thunder, freezing rain, and hail.
By the morning of December 9th, 2009, all of Iowa was snowed in. Major highways were closed, many were completely blocked by snow, and the Iowa Department of Transportation was advising everyone to stay off the roads.
Schools were closed across the entire state, and many people were stuck in their homes.
The snowfall shattered a nearly 40-year-old record, dropping between 8 and 17 inches of fresh snow across the entire state. The wind blew the snow into drifts that blocked doors and covered cars.
The only thing we could do was to sit tight, make some hot cocoa, and wait for the storm to pass. Power outages affected hundreds of thousands of people at the height of the storm.
When the snow was done falling, blustery winds picked up and prolonged the hazardous driving conditions, leaving many people stranded.
The entire state was frozen for a few days, and transportation was effectively halted.
Even the forecasters were snowed in! This photo of the Johnson NWS office shows just how high the snow was piled.
Brutally cold temperatures drifted in along with the storm. Across the state, the mercury hovered around 10°F, but the wind chill was recorded well below 0°F. In fact, with the wind chill, Mason City faced a temperature of -31°F!
By the time the blizzard ended, Iowans were ready to give up and move down to Florida.
Little did they know another storm was just ten days away. After the record-setting state-wide blizzard of December 8th, another Midwestern storm rolled in on December 19th, shattering low-pressure records, bringing freezing rain and snowdrifts created by 100 mph winds, and causing havoc when it came to holiday travel.
The winter of 2009-2010 ended up being a record-breaking one, with storm after storm dumping snow on the Hawkeye State. Do you remember the December blizzards and the mess they created?