SIOUX CITY -- Saturday's blizzard caused near-whiteout road conditions throughout Siouxland, along with large swaths of Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa.
Kerry Hanko, a meteorologist with the Sioux Falls National Weather Service, said Sioux City was still expected to see 6 to 8 inches of snow from the Saturday system. Most Siouxland communities are expected to see roughly this amount, though snowfall totals were difficult to measure due to blowing snow.
Surprisingly, this amount of snow might only equal (rather than break) Sioux City's April 14 snow record of 6.2 inches, set in 1949.
Complicating matters, sustained winds of 30 miles per hour and gusts of more than 40 miles per hour howled all day, blowing snow into deep drifts on roadways and elsewhere.
Temperatures Saturday afternoon hovered in the upper 20s -- more than 30 degrees lower than the average April 14 high temperature of 62 degrees.
And in a rather backward way, Saturday's high temperature actually occurred around midnight, when the temperature was 38 degrees, before sliding downward.
The snow was expected to stop around 9 a.m. Sunday, and it would only be hit-and-miss up until that time.
"After midnight, it's going to kind of be much lighter snow," Hanko said.
Sioux City remained in a blizzard warning until 1 a.m. Sunday.
On the road
The Hastings National Weather Service and Iowa Department of Transportation reported that all highways near Sioux City were either completely or partially covered in snow or a snow-and-ice mixture.
Travel was not advised in much of the tri-state area during the blizzard. Sioux City drivers appeared to have been particularly hard-hit, with six traffic accidents reported in less than a three-hour timespan. A three-car pileup with injuries was reported near Salix after 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Woodbury County Sheriff's Deputy Gerad Lukken said the county saw a fairly large number of accidents on Saturday, including about three on I-29, one involving three cars and another involving five. There were accidents on Highway 20 as well.
Because of the tow ban issued for the northwest Iowa, many of the disabled cars could not be moved.
"A lot of cars in the ditch all around the county," Lukken said.
For the most part, the highways are 100 percent covered in ice and slush, Lukken said. I-29 has improved somewhat, but even liquid slush is causing people to hydroplane and lose control.
"People driving too fast for the conditions," he said.
South Sioux City police investigator Clint Nelson said shortly after 1 p.m. that South Sioux City had seen three minor car accidents within an hour timespan.
One officer whom Nelson had spoken to reported near-whiteout conditions on Interstate 29, and throughout the county he suspected visibility was less than a quarter-mile.
In Dixon County, Nebraska, sheriff's dispatcher Cindy Koeppe said as of 1:15 p.m., there had been no reported accidents in the county.
"Apparently, people are being wise this time and staying off the roads," she said.
Cherokee County Sheriff's corporal Alex Burditt said shortly before 2:30 p.m. that the county hadn't seen very many accidents, except for one semi truck reported in the ditch near Aurelia.
"I don't think we've had much today," he said. "I know the roads are horrible," including blowing and drifting snow and ice-packed roads.
As in Dixon County, Burditt said cars were staying off the roads in Cherokee County.
"On my drive in, I might have passed one," he said. "People are finally staying inside."
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an emergency declaration in response to storm-related travel problems and impassible roads in central and western Nebraska. Interstate 80 and U.S. Highways 30 and 20 were closed due to the weather, and several counties in central Nebraska were impacted by a toppled emergency communication tower.
The blizzard also caused a slew of rescheduled and cancelled events in Siouxland, including the 2018 Heelan Auction, a forum for Iowa Democratic governor candidates, the Sioux City Relays, evening Mass in Storm Lake and others.
Snow emergencies were declared in Sioux City as well as South Sioux City. Cars parked in the street need to be moved to the odd-numbered side on Sunday.