WATERLOO | Northeast Iowa residents spent Saturday digging out from the first major snowfall of the season.
A winter storm blanketed the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area with more than a foot of wet, heavy snow Friday night and Saturday morning, shattering a nearly 60-year-old record.
The National Weather Service reported 12.7 inches of snow fell at the Waterloo Regional Airport. The 10.5 inches that dropped Friday broke the previous Nov. 20 record of 2.6 inches set in 1956.
Six to 14 inches of snow fell in various parts of Iowa, tapering off Saturday morning as the sun rose.
The NWS said 10 inches fell in Waverly, 12.7 inches in Sumner and 8.5 inches in Decorah.
The highest snow total for the state came in Franklin County, which saw more than 13 inches in some areas, according the weather service.
The worst of the storm hit along U.S. Highway 20 and the Cedar Valley.
The snow was wet, with a layer of slush underneath that made clearing roads, driveways and sidewalks slow going.
Road conditions were poor Friday night, with traffic moving at a crawl on highways across the state and ditches filling up with cars. Waterloo police responded to more than 100 vehicle accidents during the second shift that started at 3 p.m. Friday. No serious injuries were reported. Scores of car accidents were reported across Northeast Iowa.
In central Iowa, rescuers were sent into freezing temperatures and blowing snow Friday night to save a woman whose car slid into an icy creek near Adel. The car was partially submerged when crews arrived at the scene. It took firefighters about 10 minutes to pull the woman, who suffered only minor injuries, to safety.
The first significant snowstorm of the season dumped up to 20 inches of snow on parts of the Upper Midwest, blanketing a swath from South Dakota to Michigan.
The storm caused more than 500 flight cancellations. A blast of much colder air was following the storm.
The snow, which first fell in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa on Friday, continued in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan before heading northeast into Canada late Saturday.
National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Seeley said it’s unusual for the Midwest’s first snowfall of the season to dump more than 6 inches,.
Temperatures plunged behind the front. Sioux Falls, S.D., reached 11 degrees Saturday and the town of Estherville in northern Iowa was even colder at 6 degrees with a wind chill of minus 4, the weather service said.
In the Cedar Valley, it should be sunny today with a high of 27 but wind chills as low as 5 below zero with southwest winds of 5 to 11 mph.
Tonight’s low will be 21.