Winter Weather Advisory in effect Friday
Accumulating snow likely for some, but not all
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - In a snow season which has gotten off to a somewhat lackluster start, snow enthusiasts have been hoping for a change in fortune, and for some, that’s exactly what’s about to happen.
With our incoming storm track taking a slight southerly jaunt, it places more of the Stateline in a favorable region for accumulating snow. With that said, though, not all of us will see snow stick to the ground, and the situation remains a bit fluid, even just hours away from precipitation’s arrival.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory beginning and midnight Friday and continuing through the late afternoon or early evening hours for the northernmost tier of counties in Illinois and all three of our southern Wisconsin counties.
Now, let’s dive into the specifics of the storm though the lens of Thursday evening’s most recent model runs. Precipitation looks to commence between midnight at 2:00am, first in the southwest, then gradually lifting northeast. Initially, precipitation looks to start as rain over the vast majority of the region, but extremely close attention will need to be paid to our temperatures. As of 10:00pm, temperatures were below freezing across the entire Stateline. We’re banking on the return of clouds allowing temperatures to warm back above freezing before the rain begins to fall. Should that not be the case, concerns for icy roads would mount quickly.
Latest model guidance suggests that precipitation may remain as rain over the vast majority of northern Illinois a bit longer than initially expected, with a transition to snow taking place over much of southern Wisconsin.
As we reach the all-important morning commute period, things may become a bit more precarious over parts of the area. Along and north of US-20, precipitation is likely to have changed over to all snow, while south of US-20, a mix of rain, snow, and sleet is expected. South of Interstate 88, precipitation remains as all rain.
A period of 2-3 hours of snow remains likely for far northern Illinois, while southern Wisconsin’s window for snow is considerably longer. However, by late in the morning, some spots may be seeing a transition back over to rain.
While precipitation won’t be entirely finished by 2:00pm, it will most certainly be winding down. Still, a few light rain or snow showers may linger, though no subsequent accumulations of any consequence are in the cards at this point.
Regarding accumulations, we’ve slightly amended our forecast from our early evening newscasts. The net result has been to trim the accumulations down a smidge over northern Illinois, and to bump them up a bit over southern Wisconsin. Because of the limited timeframe for precipitation to fall as snow in northern Illinois, we’re now calling for 1 to 3 inches, with lighter amounts as you go south of Interstate 88. Areas closer to the Wisconsin border may see an isolated 4 inch total, but that’s far from guaranteed. On the other side of the ledger, we’ve bumped numbers up over most of southern Wisconsin to 3 to 5 inches, with the highest amounts to fall along with I-94 corridor between Madison and Milwaukee’s northwestern suburbs.
A final note of caution, while this forecast represents our very latest thoughts on the storm’s evolution, this is NOT set in stone. A shift of 5-10 miles or a temperature rise or fall of even one degree could have dramatic impacts on the end result. This remains a fluid situation, and one you can assure we’re monitoring closely and constantly.
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