Iowas tourism industry is struggling as the state braces itself for record snowfall and record-shattering temperatures.
The weather is forecast to produce record snowfalls and severe weather, as well as high temperatures.
In anticipation of a record winter, Iowan officials are urging citizens to take extra precautions, including limiting outdoor activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, riding in their cars or hiking.
But the state’s tourism office says it’s not an emergency.”IOWAS tourism is a robust industry,” said Kristina Schaeffer, executive director of the Iowa Tourism Association.
“The industry has had to deal with the winter storms before and this year we’ve had to adjust to what the state is expecting.”
Iowas chief of tourism, Brad Dufault, told the Iowa City Press-Citizen the state was prepared for this year’s storm.
“We’re prepared,” Dufaults spokesman Mark Wielgus said.
“There is no plan in place for us to take on the full burden of snowfall.
We’re just going to be prepared for the weather and be able to get the people who are traveling back into the state.”
Travelers to Iowa, which has more than a million visitors annually, are advised to be cautious, especially for the winter.
There’s not a full list of restrictions on travel that’s being put in place, and travelers who have plans ahead should check with their local hotels.
Travelers who do plan on visiting Iowa should expect to see snow and ice.
That includes winter tires, snow plows and snowshoes, and there will be limited snow clearing.
In Iowa, a snowfall of 2 inches or more is expected to fall in the Iowa city of Des Moines, according to the National Weather Service.
The snowfall totals from last year and this winter are forecast to be at least 5 inches, according the National Snow & Ice Data Center.
The weather service expects snow to start to fall around 8 a.m.
Thursday, and winds of 30 mph or higher are expected.
The Iowa City Police Department says it will be enforcing mandatory traffic closure orders, including from 10 a.k. to 6 p.m., from 10:30 a.c. to 8 p.p.m, and from 10 p.s.m.-4 a.s., from Thursday through Saturday.
Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources has declared a state of emergency in the state for the first time since it was created in 1973.
The state has issued emergency alerts and issued an Amber Alert for the Des Moines metro area.