Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) – Showers and thunderstorms will move through Central Illinois Friday and Friday night as a powerful storm system moves across the Midwest. A few stronger storms are possible Friday night, particularly east of I-55.

Key Takeaways

  • Rain showers expected during the day, thunderstorms develop after sunset
  • Greatest risk of severe weather is south of I-72 but a few stronger storms could impact areas along and east of I-55
  • Slight chance of snow late Friday night and early Saturday morning

The risk of strong to severe storms in December is not a common occurrence, but tomorrow night is one of the rare instances where severe storms are expected in Illinois. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Level 2 Threat (slight risk) for many areas south of I-72 with a Level 3 Threat (Enhanced Risk) across far SE Illinois. In these areas damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes will be possible after sunset Friday. Further north a Level 1 Threat (Marginal Risk) has been issued for areas along and east of I-55 where isolated strong thunderstorms may produce gusty winds and hail.

While the overall risk for severe weather in our local area is low, communities along I-55 such as Lincoln, Bloomington, and Pontiac could see an isolated severe storm. Storms will likely develop between 7 pm and 9 pm near the Illinois River then move rapidly to the northeast through midnight. I will note that some models shows the threat holding off until after midnight so some additional adjustments to storm timing may be needed Friday morning.

Simulated Satellite and Radar through Friday night

The storm threat will end once the cold front moves through. While most of the rain will shift east with the front, a few lingering rain showers will be possible and may mix with or change to snow after 3 am. When it’s all said and done rainfall amounts will generally be less than a half inch. Areas that see thunderstorms, mainly along and east of the Illinois River, will likely see 0.50″ to 1.00″ of rain. Any snow accumulation early Saturday morning will be confined to areas west of the Illinois River and along I-80 and will only amount to a trace. Skies will then clear Saturday morning leaving Central Illinois with cool and blustery conditions.

Strong Winds Friday Night and Saturday Morning

Very strong winds are likely to develop behind the cold front with gusts between 35 & 45 mph likely with a few gusts as high as 50 mph possible. These winds will generally come from the west after midnight Friday night and continue through early afternoon Saturday.

Wind speed forecast for Friday night and Saturday