A major winter storm impacting the Plains today will bring accumulating snow to the region tonight into Friday. The winter storm has already dumped more than a foot of snow and significant ice (2-3" of sleet) over parts of Kansas and Missouri. Kansas and Missouri joined Nebraska in the latest states to declare a State of Emergency due to the severe winter storm.
Though this winter storm will enter an occluded or weakening phase this evening, it will have enough moisture with it to not only bring widespread accumulating snowfall to the region late tonight, but possibly our largest snowfall event of the season. To date, our largest snowfall of 2.7" fell back on February 4. The range of projected snow accumulations mentioned below surpasses this amount.
Here are the latest details on what to expect:
*Timing: A band of accumulating snow will overspread the region from south/southwest to north/northeast between 7pm (Livingston, Ford, La Salle, Grundy, Iroquois counties) and 11pm (Lake, McHenry, Kenosha counties). Heaviest snowfall with rates of 1"+ per hour will fall from 2am-5am Friday. Accumulating snow ends/transitions to light freezing drizzle between 6am and 8am. Light freezing drizzle possibly mixed with snow/sleet transitions to light rain/drizzle around noon. Light rain/drizzle transitions back over to scattered snow flurries after 7pm.
*Accumulation: Snow accumulations will range from 2-6 inches. Heavier snow amounts in excess of 6 inches are expected west of the Fox Valley area. Lighter amounts will occur southeast of the metro area.
*Coverage: 100% of the area will see snow and freezing drizzle. Areas west of Chicago will see more snow with little to no freezing drizzle and thus will finish with larger snow totals.
*Impacts: The combination of snow and then freezing drizzle will create treacherous driving conditions and will likely result in travel delays (air & ground). In addition, winds will become gusty and could result in blowing snow.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the entire Chicago area with the possibility of 3-5 inches of snow and light ice accumulations to occur. In addition to the precipitation, they are saying that,
EASTERLY WINDS GUSTING TO 25 TO 30 MPH MAY
CAUSE BLOWING SNOW AND REDUCED VISIBILITY.
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