New to Iowa and experiencing your first real winter? Here's a guide to surviving the season
Five tips to stay safe on icy, snowy roads in Iowa. Des Moines Register
Many Iowa transplants — we’re looking at you, campaign staffers — woke up to snow-covered cars and roads Monday morning. Some for the very first time.
The good news for those airing their grievances on social media following the first real snowfall of the season overnight is that complaining is welcome. A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll last winter showed a majority of Iowans say they’re likely to complain about winter weather.
How else can newcomers cope with winter’s early arrival? The Des Moines Register has a number of suggestions to make the most of the snow and cold.
Campaign staffers and reporters will be driving from town to town until the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, often in a hurry between organizing events. But wintry roads can cause problems even for the most experienced drivers — and keep in mind that former presidential candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell, an Iowa native, is no longer around to rescue stranded Iowans.
Drivers should know these basics:
- Which items can and can’t stay in your car in freezing temperatures?
- What are best practices for driving on slick roads?
- What about if your car won’t start?
It’s also helpful to learn some rules of the road, like Des Moines’ parking restrictions. Sign up for alerts about parking restrictions during snow events via email or text, or check the city's Facebook, Twitter and website.
Snow routes: On snow routes, no parking is allowed on either side of the street. Plows start to work when the city gets at least 1 inch of snow. Residential and odd/even streets are usually plowed after snow routes are cleared. The city issues an alert before this rule is enforced.
Odd/even: Some neighborhoods with limited off-street parking have "odd/even" signage, meaning drivers must park on the respective odd or even side depending on the calendar date. For example, on Nov. 19 — an odd number — park on the side of the street where the last digit on house numbers are odd.
Also bookmark these weather links for easy reference:
- Iowa road conditions from DOT, which includes information on tow bans
- Airport: Check arrivals/departures
- Outages: MidAmerican | Alliant | Co-op
- Track DOT's plows on an interactive map
Assuming Iowa newcomers can be convinced that winter has some redeeming qualities, the Register recommends the following activities.
Ice skaters and hockey players now have public access to seven rinks starting this winter, thanks to newly opened rinks in Johnston and Urbandale. West Des Moines, Ankeny, Waukee, Ames, and Indianola also tout public ice skating rinks.
Sledding is a snowy day favorite, and the Des Moines metro has plenty of perfect hills. The Waveland Golf Course is the most popular, but don't forget these other spots.
Those who prefer to stay indoors can check out the Winter Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market, running Nov. 22-23 and Dec. 13-14 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other indoor options include going to see the Iowa Wild and the Iowa Wolves play, and strolling the Des Moines Art Center and Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.
Here’s to a safe and fun winter for all. And if all else fails, here’s a list of the best pho spots in the metro.
Keep up with developments that affect your plans and safety at DesMoinesRegister.com on any device, and with the Register's mobile and tablet apps and social media accounts:
- UPDATES: Follow weather news, road conditions, closures, video updates from WHO-HD and more at DesMoinesRegister.com anytime.
- APPS: Download the app for your smartphone or tablet — iPhone or Android — then sign up for push alerts on the topics you're interested in, including weather.
- ON YOUR COMPUTER: At DesMoinesRegister.com/weather, check out a live interactive radar.
- SOCIAL MEDIA: Share what you're experiencing (except while driving) and get instant updates. Follow @DMRegister on Twitter and the Des Moines Register on Facebook.
Shelby Fleig covers news and features for the Register. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-214-8933.
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