Ice Potential: 8/10 (↑)
The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a Winter Storm Watch that includes much of the Chicago area for the possibility of significant ice accumulation in excess of 0.25" Sunday morning through Sunday night. The bulk of the ice accumulation will occur between noon and 6pm.
A storm system will lift northeast out of the Plains and into the region on Sunday. As it does, an associated warm front is expected to lift northward increasing temperatures throughout the day. Temperatures at the surface will start off in the 20s during the morning before climbing into the mid 20s by afternoon and finally into the low to mid 30s by night. Temperatures, however, are expected to climb above freezing in the mid levels above the surface on Sunday. But because pavement and soil temperatures will be below freezing, any liquid precipitation that comes down will likely freeze upon contact with the surface resulting in very icy and treacherous travel conditions. In addition to the risk for dangerous travel is the possibility for power outages as accumulating ice could wear down tree limbs and power lines.
Monday through Wednesday
The transition to all rain occurs late Sunday into Monday. Rain will be on the light side during the day on Monday. On Tuesday, an upper level trough finally lifts northeast from the southwestern U.S. and spins up a storm system in the Plains. Ahead of this system will be much milder air mass with highs near 50 degrees. Rain chances increase Tuesday evening ahead of this advancing storm. A severe weather outbreak is possible across downstate Illinois into parts of the Deep South Tuesday evening. Rain and even a clap of thunder is possible as far north as central Illinois or the southeast parts of the Chicago area. On the heels of Tuesday's rain will be another shot of arctic air moving in on Wednesday with the possibility of a few snow showers. This cold air mass will likely linger into at least the first few days in February.
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