Chris Kramer

Muscatine resident Chris Kramer scrapes a sheet of ice off his vehicle in the Hy-Vee Parking lot on 2nd Avenue in Muscatine.


MUSCATINE — A sharp drop in temperatures and a mix of freezing rain and snow made traveling throughout Muscatine and eastern Iowa a dangerous venture Thursday.

Due to ice on roadways throughout the day, several events were canceled in Muscatine, including a visit from Governor Kim Reynolds and a Business After Hours event hosted by the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which the governor was also scheduled to attend.

In addition, the regular Muscatine City Council meeting was cancelled Thursday night, and the agenda items will be moved to the meeting on Jan. 18, according to spokesman Kevin Jenison. The Musser Public Library, Muscatine Art Center and several other public organizations closed early due to inclement weather.

Meteorologist Tim Gross, with the National Weather Service in the Quad-Cities, said the significant drop in temperatures is typical for this time of year in eastern Iowa. Temperatures dropped from a morning high in the 50s to the 20s by late afternoon.

"That huge drop in temperatures, you get when a strong arctic cold front tracks through the area, and ahead of the cold front you get southern winds bringing temperatures well above normal," Gross said. "Behind that system was really cold temperatures originated in Canada. Those winds from the northwest made the temperatures drop really sharply."

And when there is a chance of precipitation, Gross said there can be a quick changeover from rain to sleet, freezing rain or snow.

"We had a little bit of everything," Gross said. "There were reports there was up to a tenth of an inch of ice on roads and vehicles."

Temperatures continued to drop Thursday evening, as snow in the area eventually tapered off.

The National Weather Service says Friday's forecast is sunny with a high near 18 degrees, but Gross warns drivers to continue using caution, especially with expected high winds.

"Anyone going out needs to be aware that any wetness on roads, that's likely going to be ice, so take it slow," he said. "And other than a little bit of snow, that's not going to accumulate much, it's just going to get really cold. We're back in the cold temps, unfortunately, at least through Tuesday."

Temperatures are expected to stay in the teens or 20s through the weekend, with the next chance of snow Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service.