FIRST ALERT: Winter Storm Warnings go into effect Thursday, continue into early Saturday
Whiteout conditions, dangerously cold temperatures, wind chills a certainty
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - We’re a day closer to an impending winter storm system’s arrival here, and not much has changed with regard to its evolution and local impacts here.
Snow is to begin later on tonight, with perhaps a light dusting on the ground tomorrow morning. Travel will still be ok through early Thursday morning.
Snow’s to fall at a heavier rate during the day Thursday, and the wind’s to pick up gradually with time. Temperatures will plummet, and a flash freeze is possible. This could make roads extremely slippery for a time, especially during the early afternoon hours. The expectation is with a faster moving system than earlier indicated, snow should wrap up around the dinner hour.
In total, the thought remains that most areas are in line to pick up 3-6″ of snow before the snow comes to an end, though some areas may quite possibly fall shy of even getting to 3″. But, as we’ve been saying all along, this storm’s not just about the snow that falls, it’s about what happens to that snow AFTER it falls.
As the winds pick up gradually over time, blowing and drifting will become more and more of a problem, and visibility will be dramatically reduced, at times to near zero. Travel will become extremely difficult, if not impossible, and quite dangerous to say the least. The worst travel is to come Thursday night through Friday evening.
Not only will the winds be intense, they’ll be very, very, VERY cold. Wind chills are to fall to between -10° and -20° by late afternoon, -20° to -30° by dinnertime, and -30° to -40° overnight into early Friday morning. During the day Friday, temperatures won’t even get to 0°, and wind chills will remain between -20° and -30°.
With whiteout conditions likely through this period, many motorists are likely to become stranded, potentially for some time. It’s extremely, EXTREMELY important to have your car properly equipped with warm clothes, hats, gloves, boots, a facemask, food, and water.
Also, if you must travel, be sure your gas tank is full. It’s possible that, if stranded, it could be for a long, long time as towing crews will be in high demand and will be fighting the treacherous conditions themselves. The last thing you’d want to happen, if stranded, is to run out of gas and lose access to heat.
The best advice I can share is to STAY HOME, if at all possible. This storm may not be the biggest snow producer, but it will have very high impacts over several days.
I’ll end with some good news. We gain one second of daylight tomorrow and five more seconds of daylight on Friday. Also, we’ll be back in the 30s by Wednesday, and all signs point to us concluding 2022 with three straight days in the 40s.
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