The National Weather Service forecast offices in Chicago, Davenport, and Milwaukee have issued a Winter Storm Watch for the entire WIFR viewing area beginning Thursday night and lasting through Friday evening. The only county excluded from the Winter Storm Watch at this juncture is Whiteside County.
An area of low pressure is expected to develop and pass about 75-100 miles to our south Thursday night through Friday. Snow will develop as we near the midnight hour Thursday night, and continue, heavily at times, through at least Friday afternoon.
Computer model projections still suggest that more than a half inch of water is expected to fall during this storm, which equates to 5-10 inches of snow. While 10 inches seems a bit on the high side, given the longer days, stronger sunlight, and warmer ground, it's entirely plausible that many areas could stand to pick up as much as 6 inches from this storm, with locally higher amounts in spots.
The thinking as of Wednesday night is that the heaviest snow will set up just to the North across Southern Wisconsin. (Boy, you think we've had it bad...try getting through this winter in Milwaukee or Madison...it's been even worse there!) Keep in mind though, a shift in the forecast track of our storm will have significant impacts on snowfall amounts. A shift in the track to the north by just 20-30 miles brings a mixed precip event here, and significantly dents accumulations. On the contrary, a 20-30 mile adjustment to the South would bring the epicenter of the heaviest snow smack dab over Rockford!
Thinking here right now suggests accumulations of 1-2 inches between I-80 and I-88, 2-6 inches from I-88 to the Wisconsin State Line, with 6-8 inch totals more likely across the Southern portions of Wisconsin.
Stay tuned to WIFR and wifr.com for updates on this developing winter situation.