Mother Nature is slow to let go of winter...
A strong, moisture filled storm brought a narrow but intense band of snow to Central Illinois Friday night and Saturday (March 23-24, 2018). The band of accumulating snow was approximately 80 miles wide and hit areas along and north of I-74 the hardest. On either side of the band, a sharp cut off in snow totals was seen where snowfall amounts went from 0" to 6" in a distance of 15 miles.
Record-setting snowfall occurred in Peoria as Peoria officially received 7.9" of snow on Saturday, breaking the previous record of 7 inches set back in 2013. Including the 1.2" that fell late Friday evening, Peoria received a storm total of 9.1 inches of snow.
On Saturday Peoria experienced the following:
Thunderstorm, heavy rain, rain, light rain, light freezing rain, heavy snow, snow, light snow, fog and dense fog.
The Forecast - Where we were right, where we were wrong.
The various conditions and timing of the storm, the placement of the heaviest band of snow and the sharp cut-off of snow totals on either side of the band were all well forecast. The placement of the rain/sleet snow line, which spent most of the storm along and immediately south of I-74, was also well forecast.
The snowfall forecast wasn't perfect, but it wasn't a bust either. We called for a sharp gradient in snowfall amounts along and south of I-74, but the forecast was underdone by a few inches within the heavier snow band. The lack of melting at the beginning of the event was a little surprising and set the stage for higher snowfall totals in the end.
Picking up on the trend of higher accumulations, Chief Meteorologist Chris Yates issued the following statement in a Facebook post at 3 am on Saturday, March 24...
"...parts of Peoria and Bloomington, specifically those areas north of I-74, could see more than 6 or 7 inches of snow. Parts of Stark, Marshall and Woodford Counties may end up closer to 10 inches."
This late forecast was a little closer to the final total.