Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) — A strong winter storm will develop over Texas on Tuesday and swing into the Midwest Tuesday night and Wednesday bringing widespread accumulating snow to Central Illinois. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for all of Central Illinois from 9 pm Tuesday through 6 pm Wednesday.

Key Takeaways

  • Snow starts between 9 pm Tuesday and 12 am Wednesday
  • Light snow showers linger through Wednesday night
  • Widespread 2-4 inches accumulations with heavier amounts along and east of I-55
  • Snow covered roads and slick travel possible Wednesday morning and early afternoon
  • Wet/heavy type snow

Storm Timing

Snow will start to fall between I-72 and I-74 between 9 pm and 12 am then gradually spreading north of I-74 through 5 am. Steady moderate snowfall rates between 0.5″ and 1.0″ an hour are expected to fall through the morning commute before decreasing in intensity throughout the afternoon. A few lingering light snow showers will be possible through Wednesday night with some additional light accumulation possible.

Snowfall Forecast

There’s been little to no change to the on going snowfall forecast. Widespread snow accumulations ranging from 2-4 inches are expected over much of the region including Peoria. Higher amounts of 3-5 inches are expected along and east of I-55 including places like Bloomington and Pontiac while lighter accumulations of 1-3 inches are expected across the northwestern corner of the region. The best chances for snow accumulations over 6 inches is along and east of a Champaign to St. Louis line, though melting and the weight of the snow could keep those higher accumulations in check.

While storm systems of this magnitude often lead to higher snow accumulations than what is currently projected, there are a number of factors that will work against these higher snowfall totals…

  • Warm ground temperatures
  • Air temperatures around or slightly above freezing
  • Weight of the wet snow compacting snow making 5″ measure closer to 3″

When it comes to moisture content, this system is expected to bring a beneficial 0.25″ to 0.50″ of liquid water equivalent (melted snow) to Central Illinois with the highest amounts east of I-55.

Storm Impacts

While this will not be a significant winter storm for Central Illinois, it could easily be the biggest snow event we’ve seen so far this winter season given that most of the storms have produced around or less than an inch of snow. With the heaviest snow falling during the Wednesday morning commute, visibility reductions and snow covered roads will add time to the morning commute. As snowfall rates decrease in the afternoon and temperatures climb above freezing, road conditions should improve for the Wednesday evening commute.

The snow will be loaded with moisture and will carry a lot of weight. So even snow accumulations of 2-4 inches could prove to be burdensome for some Central Illinoisans. If you are out shoveling, be sure to lift with your knees and take frequent breaks if you find yourself becoming short of breath.

Any slight shift in storm track could result in higher or lower snowfall accumulations and storm impacts, so be sure to monitor the forecast closely over the next day for any adjustments that may come our way.

An Active Weather Pattern

The storm track will remain active through the end of January with several small disturbances moving through the area. Depending on the placement of a nearly stationary frontal boundary, these systems could bring additional rounds of accumulating snow to the area.