Ice potential: 6/10
There is the potential for widespread hazardous travel over parts of the Midwest including northern and central Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa Sunday afternoon and Sunday night.
The threat for accumulating snow, sleet, and freezing rain is becoming a real possibility across this region Sunday/Sunday night. This includes the entire Chicago metro area which recorded its largest snow of the season of 1.1" this morning, ending an incredible record of consecutive days w/o a 1" snow at 335 days.
A slight reprieve from the weather takes place Saturday, but after that things get really interesting here on Sunday. That's when an area of low pressure will develop east of the Rockies and move from the central Plains Sunday into eastern Iowa by Sunday night. The developing storm system, as it moves towards the region, will draw up milder air and increased moisture from the south.
Ahead of a northward moving warm front, temperatures are to warm and hover around the freezing mark on Sunday. The fact that the air has been so cold over the region in recent days, raises concerns for the threat for freezing rain/ice. The greatest uncertainty between now and the time of the event will be how quickly the middle and more importantly the lower parts of the atmosphere warm up. That will determine how quickly we transition from snow and/or ice to rain.
Weather models have been doing a good job in the placement/track of the storm system and moisture field. After looking at temperature profiles of stations over the Chicago and surrounding areas, it appears that there will be a quick period of snow/sleet followed by a prolonged period of freezing rain Sunday afternoon into Sunday night.
As the warm front lifts north of the region Sunday night, milder air will continue to filter the region and will gradually translate to above freezing temperatures at the surface which means a full transition over to rain. Anyone with travel plans Sunday should closely follow later forecast and/or updates regarding the threat for mixed precipitation and freezing rain.
Monday through Wednesday
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.
Saturday: Mostly sunny and cold. Highs in the lower 20s. Winds northwest 5-15 mph becoming southeast late.
Sunday: Increasing clouds and warmer. Chance for snow/sleet/freezing rain in the afternoon/evening. Transition to all rain late. Highs in the lower 30s. Winds southwest 5-15 mph.
Monday: Mostly cloudy and mild. Chance for sprinkles/drizzle. Highs near 40 degrees. Winds southwest 5-15 mph.
Tuesday: Mostly cloudy and very mild. Chance for rain. Rainfall could be heavy at times. Thunder possible. Highs in the upper 40s. Winds southwest 10-20 mph.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy and cooler with falling temperatures. Snow showers/flurries possible. Highs in the mid to upper 30s. Winds north 10-20 mph.
Thursday: Mostly sunny and cold. Highs in the lower 20s. Winds northwest 5-15 mph.
Friday: Mostly sunny and cold. Highs in the lower 20s. Winds northwest 5-15 mph.
8-15 day temperature trend outlook
Saturday Feb. 2: Highs in the 30s.
Sunday Feb. 3: Highs in the 30s.
Monday Feb. 4: Highs in the 30s.
Tuesday Feb. 5: Highs in the 30s.
Wednesday Feb. 6: Highs in the 40s.
Thursday Feb. 7: Highs in the 30s.
Friday Feb. 8: Highs in the 40s.
Saturday Feb. 9: Highs in the 40s.
Sunday Feb. 10: Highs in the 40s.
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