PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm Watches for areas north of I-74. A powerful winter storm will bring heavy snow to the northern half of the region with a wintry mix and heavy rain elsewhere.
What We Know
- Precipitation ramps up Saturday afternoon
- Rain/snow line will set up near I-74
- Heaviest snow will fall across northern Illinois
- Significant impact to travel north of I-74
Like the previous two storm systems this will be another one of those systems that will leave snow lovers disappointed, especially along and south of I-74 where a rain/snow mix or rain will be dominate precip type. Areas further north along I-80 and down through Livingston County have a better chance of receiving several inches of accumulation with the bulk of the snow coming Saturday evening.
Rain and snow will spread across the region late Saturday morning and early afternoon. Evaporational cooling could allow this to start as snow along I-74 before gradually changing to rain by early evening. The rain/snow line could eventually reach I-80 around midnight Saturday, but by then most of the heavy snow would have already fallen. Winds could also occasionally gust to 35 mph which could lead to some limb and power line damage.
A dry slot will likely lift across the region Saturday night allowing any ongoing rain and snow to turn to drizzle. Once the upper-level wave shifts east across the region light snow will once again spread across the region from the northwest to the southeast. Light snow showers will continue through Sunday and will tapper off to flurries Sunday evening.
Barring any shift south, the heaviest snow is expected to remain north of I-74. Locations along I-80 are expected to see 4-8 inches of snowfall with 5-10 inches across La Salle County. In Livingston County, accumulations of 4-8 inches are likely with the heaviest snow falling across the northern half of the county. Snow accumulations will drop off quickly near I-74 where amounts are expected vary significantly and it’s here where uncertainty is the highest. It’s plausible that snow accumulations could change at a rate of 0.25″ per mile near or immediately north of the interstate.
At this point Peoria is expected to see 1-3 inches of snow with amounts ranging from a trace to 2 inches across much of Tazewell County. Amounts will also vary significantly across McLean County with less than 2 inches near Stanford 3-5 inches near Chenoa. Should the rain/snow line lift to the north slower than anticipated or develop further south, snow accumulations along I-74 could be much higher. On the other hand should that line set up further north, amounts would be much lower.
Freezing rain is not expected to be a major issue this time around but some areas south of I-74 and west of the Illinois River could see less than 0.10″ of ice before changing to rain Saturday afternoon.
Rain & Melted Snow Forecast
For late January this storm is going to be loaded with moisture. While some thunderstorms south of Illinois could siphon away some moisture, we still expect a widespread 0.75″ to 1.25″ of rain/melted snow with the heaviest falling southeast of the Illinois River. Soil temperatures are below freezing so we could see a bit of excessive runoff which could lead to some localized flooding.