Peoria, Ill – Another storm system will bring accumulating snow, ice and rain to Central Illinois Friday and Saturday before the arctic air moves into the region Saturday morning. While this is not expected to be a significant snowmaker, the combination of snow and ice could make travel hazardous Friday evening.
What we expect…
- Snow begins late Friday morning. Light snow accumulations are expected.
- Snow will change to freezing rain and sleet Friday evening. Ice accumulations are possible.
- Freezing rain and sleet will then change to rain overnight Friday before changing back to snow Saturday morning.
- Temperatures will drop throughout the day Saturday, reaching the single digits by Sunday morning.
Thanks to a shot of cold air on Thursday, colder temperatures will already be in place across Central Illinois when the storm moves in on Friday. Snow will begin in the southwest after 9 am and will continue to spread northeast across the region throughout the day.
Snow will change over to sleet and freezing rain after 6 pm as a layer of warm air moves in aloft. Ground temperatures may remain below freezing for a few hours in the evening allowing ice to accumulate on all surfaces Friday evening before we see a change over to rain after 10 pm.
Colder air will move in on the backside of the storm system allowing rain to gradually change back over to snow before the snow ends Saturday afternoon. Temperatures will become significantly colder on Saturday with temperatures reaching the single digits late Saturday night.
There is still a bit of uncertainty in the track of the storm and the speed at which temperatures will climb above freezing Friday night so the projected snow and ice amounts may be adjusted in the future.
Snow accumulations are expected to range from 1-3 inches across much of Central Illinois with locally higher amounts possible. The heaviest snow is expected to remain north of the area. Snow amounts could increase in later updates if the storm track shifts to the east or it becomes apparent that temperatures will not warm as quickly as expected.
This remains one of the more complicated aspects of this forecast. While surface air temperatures are expected to climb above freezing Friday night, ground temperatures could hover around freezing. At this point, ice accumulations are expected to be the highest west of I-55 and generally less than a quarter of an inch.
The combination of ice and snow could lead to power outages and hazardous travel conditions, especially for the Friday evening commute and Friday night. A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for our northern counties from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon. Additional advisories and watches could be issued in the future as confidence in the snow and ice accumulations increase. Another issue could be flash freezing on Saturday as temperatures rapidly drop allowing roads to freeze, so roads could remain slick on Saturday even once the storm has moved out.