SIOUX CITY -- Most roads in Northwest Iowa were partially to completely covered with snow and ice Friday, as a blizzard made travel precarious, and a collision that resulted from slippery conditions resulted in one death.
Throughout the tri-state region, authorities recommended residents stay home. Heavy snow and gusting winds contributed to whiteout conditions in some areas. North/northwest winds ranged from 25 mph to 35 mph, with gusts up to 70 mph in some areas.
The blizzard warning was for all of Northwest Iowa, Northeast Nebraska and Union and Clay counties in Southeast South Dakota. Most schools cancelled classes due to the storm, and several government bodies closed as well, including courthouses in Ida, Sac and Monona counties.
As of midday Friday, Sioux City had received just under 2 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, with more expected until late in the day. The number of vehicle collisions and wipeouts reported by the Sioux City Police Department increased in the period from 2 to 4 p.m.
Snow was heavier to the northwest, with 3 inches in such places as Cherokee, O'Brien, Clay and Dickinson counties, and nearly 5 inches in Buena Vista County. The sheriff offices in Woodbury and Sioux counties recommended no travel.
The Woodbury County Engineers Office, which operates the team of plows on county roads, said midday the blizzard conditions necessitated crews being pulled off gravel roads to concentrate on paved roads.
"Snow removal will continue until 5 p.m. and resume at 6 a.m. (Saturday) morning. Agencies are encouraging staying home and do not travel if you do not have to," the county press release said.
As the storm began on Thursday afternoon, slippery conditions contributed to a fatal collision in Sioux County. The county sheriff's office reported that wreck took place on Iowa Highway 10 three miles west of Alton, Iowa, just before 5 p.m.
Josiah Gonzalez, 18, of Granville, Iowa, was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu westbound on the highway, while Barry Galles, 45, of Remsen, Iowa, was driving a 2019 Ford F-250 eastbound. Gonzalez lost control of his vehicle, entered the westbound lane and the two collided.
Gonzalez was pronounced dead as a result of his injuries at Orange City Area Health System, while Galles was treated for minor injuries and released.
As the snow began on Thursday, the Dickinson County Sheriff's Office in a social media post warned, "If you choose to drive and end up getting stuck, there is a good chance you will have to wait the storm out in your vehicle. Please don't risk the safety of yourself or others."
The snow was the first in two weeks in Siouxland, after a busy period with three snow events over seven days just before and after Christmas Day.