Peoria, Ill – A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for much of Central Illinois from Friday night through Saturday evening.
- Unseasonably heavy rain could lead to localized flooding Friday night and Saturday morning.
- A transition from rain to freezing rain and sleet will begin late Friday night west of the Illinois River.
- Moderate to heavy snow moves in Saturday as colder temperatures arrive.
- Power outages likely Saturday and Saturday night due to the combination of ice, snow and wind.
Two separate storm systems will bring heavy rain, significant ice and moderate to heavy snow to Central Illinois through Saturday night. The first system will bring scattered showers to Central Illinois Thursday night, but rainfall amounts will remain relatively light.
The impacts begin with the arrival of the second system on Friday afternoon and evening. Moderate to heavy rain will spread across Central Illinois after 5 pm. Overnight, the rain will begin a slow transition to freezing rain and sleet west of the Illinois River, gradually shifting east through Saturday afternoon.
While heavy rain could lead to flooding east of the Illinois River, the greatest impacts from winter weather will be for areas to the west. Here a combination of heavy ice followed by a period of moderate to heavy snow will make travel all but impossible late Friday night and Saturday.
Rainfall Forecast – Friday night through Saturday night
The heaviest rain is expected to fall east of the Illinois River where a widespread 3-5 inches of rain is expected. Further west, rainfall amounts will generally range from 1-3 inches. Locally higher amounts will be possible under training thunderstorms. The NWS has also issued a Flood Watch for areas along and east of the Illinois River.
Freezing Rain Forecast – Friday evening through Saturday afternoon
The heaviest ice accumulations due to freezing rain will be west of the Illinois River. Parts of Knox, Stark, Henry, Bureau, Putnam, Marshall and La Salle Counties could see some significant ice accumulations. Ice accumulations are expected to range from around a tenth of an inch in Peoria to more than a half-inch from Galesburg to Princeton. Even higher amounts are possible if temperatures drop below freezing earlier than expected.
Snowfall Forecast – Saturday morning through Saturday night
The entire region will gradually transition to snow throughout the day on Saturday, starting in the west before sunrise. West of the Illinois River, snow could be heavy at times with a widespread 3-7 inches expected. Along the Illinois River, snowfall amounts will range from 2-4 inches with locally higher amounts possible. Along I-55 the snow will be lighter with 1-3 inches expected.