Home News KLEM News for Saturday, December 24

KLEM News for Saturday, December 24


The blizzard has ended, but the extreme cold will continue for another day.  The Blizzard Warning expired this morning at 6AM.  A wind Chill Warning remains in effect until noon today, but wind chill readings will ease into 15 below to 25 below zero range this afternoon, before falling back into the 20s to lower 30s below zero tonight. A new weather system will bring a chance of light snow Sunday afternoon into Sunday night. Snowfall amounts will likely remain less than an inch. However, northwest winds increase Sunday night, with gusts of 25 to 40 mph possible. The gusty winds could result in patchy blowing and drifting snow. After a brief reprieve on Sunday, sub-zero wind chills will return Sunday night into Monday night.



The Iowa State Patrol has responded to more than 950 calls since the winter storm began Wednesday through early Friday afternoon.  In that period, troopers responded to 279 crashes, including 253 with property damage, and 26 injuries.  They’ve also assisted 673 drivers.  There had be3en no fatalities reported in the Iowa incidents.



The Iowa DOT says major roads and highways in northwest Iowa remain blocked, mainly in the northern two tiers of counties.  That includes Sioux, Lyon, Osceola, and O’Brien Counties.  In Plymouth County, travel is not recommended this morning along Iowa Highway 3, and Iowa 60 and US 75 north of Le Mars.  Highways 12, US 75 and Iowa 140, all south of Highway 3, are partially covered.



While some Iowans’ homes will be visited by a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer tomorrow (Saturday) night, it’s hoped there’s also -not- a visit on Sunday from a fire truck. Andrea Vaspis (VAS-pis), public education director for the National Fire Protection Association, says if you’re trying to add some holiday ambience to the room by lighting a few candles, do so with caution.

December is the peak time of year for candle fires and studies find almost three of every five December home fires are started by candles.

Christmas Day is also one of the top three days of the year for home cooking fires, but she says lighting candles may only increase the risk of a disaster.

Christmas tree fires don’t happen often, but when they do, they tend to be serious. An association report finds, on average, one of every 52 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 135 total reported home fires.



Iowans struggling to pay to heat their homes during these bitterly cold conditions may quality for financial assistance. The State of Iowa gets federal funds to distribute as grants the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. There are income restrictions, however. For example a family of four with an annual income at or below 55-thousand dollars may apply. Natural gas costs are expected to be about 22 percent higher than last year. Home heating oil prices declined over the past week, but are still higher than a year ago.