By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Despite receiving less than the predicted deposit of snow overnight Friday, Snowstorm “Q” still left its mark on the Gateway area.
Meteorologists projected the area would receive anywhere from 4 to 7 inches. However, only 2 inches actually fell in Clinton, according to Jim Blaess, an official weather observer for the National Weather Service.
“It kind of split off around here because of the dry air,” Blaess said.
So far this month, the area has received 3.3 inches of snow, less than half of what is average for February.
Most precipitation this season, Blaess said, has come from rain.
“Q” packed more punch in other areas of the state and the Midwest.
According to the National Weather Service, Iowa City had 6 inches by noon on Friday while the Sioux City area received the most snow in Iowa at 9.7 inches.
A death in western Iowa was linked to the storm when a woman was run over Thursday by her car, which had gotten stuck on her steep, slippery driveway. Also in Iowa, a bus carrying members of a college softball team was involved in a multi-vehicle crash Friday morning. It closed part of Interstate 80 east of Des Moines, and no serious injuries were reported.
The storm struck hardest in other areas of the region, delivering 17 inches in Hays, Kan.; 13 inches in northern Oklahoma; 13 ½ inches in northeast Missouri and south-central Nebraska; and 12 inches in parts of Kansas City, Mo.
Although the snowfall was not as hefty as originally predicted in Clinton, it still made an impact. The city of Clinton started clearing the streets at 10 p.m. in order to improve the morning commute. City officials also decided to delay garbage pickup because of the snow.
By Friday afternoon four snow-related accidents had occurred, according to Clinton Police Sgt. Joe Raaymakers. All four were single-vehicle accidents that involved the vehicles sliding off the roadway. They occurred at 22nd Place and Liberty Avenue; Fifth Avenue South and Bluff Boulevard; US 67 and the viaduct and on College Avenue.
It was the condition of the streets that led Clinton School District Superintendent Deb Olson to delay classes by two hours and cancel morning pre-kindergarten.
While school districts in other areas of the state reacted to the threat of copious snow by cancelling school for Friday on Thursday before any snow had fallen, Olson made the call to delay school after seeing what the storm actually delivered.
“It’s not an exact science,” Olson said. “But I’m always going to err on the side of students’ safety.”
According to Olson, the staff was alerted at 5:30 a.m Friday and the parents were notified half an hour later.
The Camanche and Northeast school districts also delayed classes by two hours. Northeast Superintendent Jim Cox echoed Olson’s sentiment that the roads presented more of an issue than the inch count.
“When you look at some of the areas where are students are coming from you have a lot of hills and ups and downs. Those roads can be tough,” Cox said. “Delaying two hours gives the county and state highway department an extra hour or so to clear the roads.” As Gateway-area residents dig themselves out of the snow, they can expect a small amount of snow on the other side of the weekend. Another storm system is projected to hit the area on Monday night, but only bring an additional 1 to 2 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.