A recent stretch of mild weather that started at the end of February has left many in Central Illinois with a bit of Spring fever. Unfortunately, it looks like Winter may not be done with Central Illinois just yet.
An active weather pattern and persistent upper-level trough is expected to bring below average temperatures and a few chances of snow to Central Illinois through the end of the week. The upcoming stretch of cooler than normal weather could also lead to a few hard freezes as temperatures drop in to the 20s, affecting plants that may have gotten off to an early start thanks to the recent stretch of warm weather.
The first shot of snow will come Tuesday, March 6th as widely scattered showers develop around an upper-level low. These showers will likely start in the form of rain but will quickly change to snow as the rain acts to cool temperatures in to the 30s. The showers will remain scattered so accumulations will also be fairly scattered as opposed to widespread but, up to an inch of slushy snow may accumulate on grassy surfaces. Any snow that falls may also fall in brief heavy bursts that could limit visibility for Central Illinois travelers.
While dry conditions are expected to return to Central Illinois on Wednesday and Thursday. Temperatures will resemble those typically seen during the second week of February instead of the second week of March as they top out in the middle 30s.
A few small but potent disturbances are then expected to impact Central Illinois on Friday and Sunday. The exact track of these disturbances remain in question but some parts of the region may see some light snow accumulations with each wave, though amounts remain uncertain. According to the European Model Ensemble, areas along and north of I-74 stand a 50%-90% chance of seeing at least one inch of snow through Sunday night.
While this upcoming stretch of Winter-like weather may come as a surprise to some, it is still Winter for another few weeks as Spring doesn't officially begin until 11:15 AM CDT on March 20th. In fact, on average Peoria doesn't see it's last measurable snowfall until March 18th and it's last freeze until April 15th.
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