Accumulating snow to return later this week

Weather Blog

Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) – On Tuesday Central Illinois experienced its first sunny day since late December, giving the region a chance to finally thaw out after the New Years Day ice storm. Unfortunately today’s sun was likely just a brief intermission and the remaining acts of our winter ensemble will begin this week.

The weather will start to turn on Thursday as a strong cold front moves into Illinois. This front is expected to bring rain and an eventual change over to snow to Cental Illinois Thursday afternoon. The current thinking is that this initial round of snow will be light but could be just enough to make roads slick by Thursday evening, though exact amounts are unclear.

The upper-level low will then stall across the Upper Midwest on Friday. This will bring periodic snow showers that are likely to produce some additional snow accumulation through Saturday along with some gusty winds. With cold temperatures aloft we could see some locally heavy snow showers and snow squalls that could have greater impacts on local travel should they develop.

Probability of 1″ of snowfall Thursday through Saturday

While exact accumulations throughout the event are uncertain, there’s a 60-65% chance the area will receive more than an inch of snow. The uncertainty in snow accumulations stems from the typical questions with storm track, temperature profiles and available moisture. This time there’s another uncertainty…convective snow showers. Should convective snow showers develop, there could be narrow bands of heavy snow and gusty winds that could bring higher snow accumulations to localized areas.

Here’s what we know now…

  • Periods of snow will fall between Thursday and Saturday
  • Snow accumulations over one inch are likely with higher amounts possible
  • Roads are likely to be slick at time from Thursday afternoon through Saturday
  • Freezing rain is not expected

Beyond this weekend

It appears that Central Illinois will remain in an active weather pattern through the end of January. This is partially in response to the continued disruption and split of the Polar Vortex, which I discussed in a video posted to Facebook last week. This PV disruption leads to a highly amplified weather pattern which sends much warmer temperatures north and much colder temperatures south. Occasionally, these patterns can bring harsh blasts of Arctic air to the United States….a scenario that some models continue to suggest will happen by the end of the month.

Until then we’re likely to see fluctuations between above average and below average temperatures every couple of days with periodic chances of snow. If we are to see a prolonged period of cold weather that would likely come the last week of January.

EPS 850 mb Temperature Anomaly shows periods of above average and below average temperatures with a trend to more persistent cold by the end of the month.

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