Powerful storm system to bring heavy rain, potential snow to the Stateline
Strong winds also a potential concern
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - It’s been a remarkably quiet month of February thus far, but there are signs of that changing in a big way come Wednesday.
In February’s opening week, we’ve yet to see any precipitation whatsoever. The dry streak, however, will most certainly come to an end soon, as a powerful winter storm system is poised to churn into the Midwest Wednesday into Thursday.
Thankfully, for commuters or any with outdoor plans on Wednesday, no problems are foreseen. We will, however, notice there being considerably more cloudiness in our skies than in recent days. While we’re to expect a mostly cloudy Wednesday, don’t be at all surprised to see numerous peeks of sunshine from time to time. Temperatures, thanks to southerly winds, are again ticketed for the middle 40s.
Thicker clouds are to arrive Wednesday evening as precipitation inches northward. Locally, we can expect rain to begin somewhere between 10:00pm and 2:00am.
Once rain begins, it’s not likely to stop for several hours. As we approach sunrise, it’s possible we see occasional heavy downpours, and a rumble of thunder is not to be ruled out. The morning commute may very well bring widespread ponding on many of our area roads.
Once the sun rises, we’ll find ourselves perilously close to the pivotal rain/snow line, and while we’re likely to find ourselves on the warmer, wetter side of that line for most of the event, a subtle southward jog in the storm’s track could have profound impacts.
Nonetheless, we do expect a transition from rain to snow to occur from west to east as we go through the morning hours of Thursday. The combination of warm, wet ground and air temperatures considerably above freezing will preclude significant accumulations here, though it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which far northern reaches of the viewing area pick up a slushy inch.
Accumulations notwithstanding, there could still be some significant travel impacts Thursday. That’s because our storm system will be strengthening throughout the day, causing winds to ramp up. From late morning through mid-afternoon, much of our area could be seeing wind gusts of 30 to 40mph. Those winds could alter travel in their own right, but combine that with snow falling in the sky, there could be some significant reductions in visibility, a development worth keeping close tabs on.
Precipitation quickly comes to an end Thursday afternoon, and while we’ll remain on the breezy side for the evening commute, significant travel difficulty is not foreseen.
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