Confidence continues to increase on a major winter storm affecting portions of the state this coming weekend with significant impacts from accumulating snow and ice. For that reason, local National Weather Service offices have issued Winter Storm Watches for portions of the state. I will talk more about that and along with the latest as this winter storm is slowly taking aim on the Midwest and some of us here in Illinois!
To start off, here is an updated headlines map below showing where all the new Winter Storm Watches are currently in effect. The Quad Cities and Chicago National Weather Service offices have issued watches for counties in northern Illinois (dark blue below). The watches across northern Illinois go into effect from Friday evening through late Saturday night for significant ice and snow accumulations.
More information on these watches can be found here:
What seems like many days now we've been watching this system well out over the Pacific Ocean and it is finally on U.S. soil as of early this morning. At this time this afternoon, it is currently working its was southeast across southern California and will eventually turn more east over the Baja region of Mexico. Beyond that, expect a turn to the northeast when it will take aim on the Midwest and us here in Illinois, leading to significant weather impacts in more ways than one.
The animation below runs from noon tomorrow (Friday) through 3am on Sunday morning, showing the entire evolution of this winter storm as it affects much of the Midwest and us here in Illinois. Now, things are still subject to change somewhat but we are continuing to get a better idea of what to expect. Precipitation in the form of rain will overspread much of the state tomorrow evening with the northwest portions of the state starting out with a potpourri of precipitation types including sleet and freezing rain along with potentially all snow. The cold air will slowly seep southeast overnight and into Saturday morning allowing for a larger area of northern Illinois to get in on the threat of sleet and ice accumulations.
**Expect widespread travel impacts, some possibly significant across much if not all of northern Illinois on Saturday into Saturday night** so if you don't have to be on the roads, just stay home. Not only will snow, sleet and ice accumulations make for very rough travel if not impossible travel on area road ways, high winds are expected as well, with wind gusts of 30-45mph being possible across much of the state. The combination of ice accumulations and winds may cause some tree damage and power outages.
As the surface low pulls off to the east and northeast later Saturday, colder air will continue to work its way into the area and this is when a more widespread threat of accumulating snow (possibly significant) will be possible, favoring the western and northwest portions of the state as things look now. Snow could fall quite heavily in this band of snow Saturday afternoon and evening with snowfall rates of 1-2"/hr possible.
Our updated thoughts regarding snowfall and freezing rain (ice) accumulations are as followed below. We continue to watch this system very closely and updates will continue and these maps are still subject to some change so be sure to stay tuned!
Expected snowfall totals...
Expected freezing rain (ice) accumulations...
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