511 Information


Iowa Winter Travel Condition Definitions (updated Winter 2014/2015)

Travel conditions box

From October 15 to April 15, the Iowa DOT reports winter road conditions on Interstates, U.S., and state highways in Iowa. Reported conditions, described below, are updated every two hours; however, road conditions may change rapidly between reporting periods. A roadway with no report available does not indicate normal driving conditions; adverse driving conditions may be present.

Dry:The road surface is mostly dry.

Wet: The road surface is mostly wet; however any precipitation on the road is not freezing. A wet condition could result in reduced traction.

Partially or mostly covered: Frost, ice, sleet/slush, snow or a mixture of precipitation is causing the roadway to be partially covered. Drivers may experience periods when roadway markings are difficult to see. The roadway surface may become slick, snow packed and rutted. Moderate blowing and drifting snow along with occasional drifts may be encountered.

Completely covered: The roadway is completely covered with precipitation. Accumulation is to the point that the roadway markings are most likely obscured, making it difficult to differentiate between the roadway and its surroundings. These conditions could make travel difficult or hazardous.

Travel not advised:The roadway has deteriorated to the point that it is very dangerous to travel. Emergency vehicles and snow plows may be called off of the roadway due to the conditions. In the event of an emergency, it may be impossible to get emergency vehicles to the scene.

Impassable or closed: A road that is impassable is blocked by snow or disabled vehicles. A road that is closed has travel restricted by barricades, fence, gate, official equipment/vehicles or other physical means. Iowa law prohibits motorists from entering a closed roadway or moving traffic control devices.

Future reports

These are events (incidents, road construction, closures, etc.) that are not currently in progress, but are scheduled to occur within the next two weeks.

More info

Cameras are available in five metro areas (Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Iowa City/Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities and Sioux City) by checking the "Cameras" box under "DOT Equipment.

Current messages displaying on electronic signs on the roadways are available by checking the "Electronic Signs" box under "DOT Equipment." If the sign has a message on it, the word "SIGN" on the icon, will be orange; otherwise it will be gray.


To view cameras and speeds only for the metro areas, click on the respective metro area link under "Cameras & Speeds Only." This will turn off all other icons and turn on the cameras and speeds only option. It will then zoom to the selected metro area. These views can also be bookmarked for future reference.

Other info

"Other State's Info" will turn on the information icons to access bordering states’ traveler information websites.