Hanna Mullen (right) and her younger sister, McKenna, assist Gary Brown with loading a shopping cart at the Carroll Hy-Vee Food Store while shopping with their mother, Stacie, Wednesday afternoon. Daily Times Herald photos by Jeff Storjohann
Hanna Mullen (right) and her younger sister, McKenna, assist Gary Brown with loading a shopping cart at the Carroll Hy-Vee Food Store while shopping with their mother, Stacie, Wednesday afternoon. Daily Times Herald photos by Jeff Storjohann
February 21, 2013



As the snow flies today, Karen Free will stand in her Breda kitchen and bake and bake and bake.

Her grocery list on Wednesday at Hy-Vee Food Store included the makings of apple pie and chocolate chip cookies as a swarm of other Carroll-area residents stocked up on food to ride out today's storm and its aftermath.

Eggs, bread and milk are usually among the most popular pre-snowstorm items, said Gary Brown, the assistant manager at Hy-Vee, which doubled its workers Wednesday to give customers "stress-free weather shopping."

The stressful snow was expected to strike suddenly this afternoon, which pushed local schools to dismiss class today starting in the late morning.

The storm pummeled parts of Kansas and Missouri before breaching Iowa's southern border before 10 a.m.

In Kansas City, "it went from not really snowing to shutting the city down within three hours," said Karl Jungbluth, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Johnston. "It's falling so fast that it's really going to accumulate quickly."

Most of Carroll's anticipated 7 1/2 inches of snow was expected to fall in a six-hour period starting mid-afternoon. Computer predictions show that a similar storm could pound Iowa on Monday.

Better weather predictions have dramatically changed the way people buy groceries when major storms strike, said Robert Kidney, store manager for Fareway. Forecasters have warned about the storm for a week.

"It used to be that people would come rushing in as soon as it started to snow, but it's not like that anymore," he said. "Some people will load up their pantries if they live in the country and they get snow or wind they just don't move for awhile."

Brown said his store doubles its supply of some items leading up to a major storm, and that Hy-Vee sells about twice the groceries the day before the storm as it would on a normal day.

Some Hy-Vee patrons said Wednesday that they were just shopping as they would on any other day.

Kristen and Eric Young, of Breda, said they were just out buying granola bars. Their pantry at home is usually stocked full, they said.

Free, who plans to bake and bake and bake, has two children - one a high school junior, one in kindergarten at Kuemper Catholic schools - who got the freedom to toss groceries they wanted in the shopping cart as they wheeled the Hy-Vee aisles on Wednesday.

The grocery bill is usually a bit higher before a snowstorm, Free said.