A band of heavy snow that has dropped up to a foot of snow over northern Missouri is forecast to slide over northern Illinois this evening. The latest heavy snowfall forecast from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) in Washington, D.C. indicates that there is a “high probabilty” of 4 or more inches of snow over most of the Chicago area tonight. The heavy snow band will move east into southern Michigan on Monday.
Snow is starting to intensify across portions of northern Illinois. Moderate snow has been reported at the Aurora/Sugar Grove airport for the past 30 minutes with the visibility reduced to one-half a mile.
Between 6:00PM and 6:20PM, moderate snow was also reported at Moline and Macomb, Illinois.
The storm moving into the Chicago area this evening has a history of producing up to a foot of snow. Here are some of the latest snowfall totals from around the Midwest.
12.0″ Gallitin, MO (57 miles NE of Kansas City)
8.0″ Kearney, MO
7.5″ St. Joseph, MO
7.5″ North Kansas City, MO
7.0″ Kirksville, MO
6.0″ Altamont, MO (3 foot drifts)
5.3″ Leavenworth, KS
4.0″ Ottumwa, IA
Road conditions across northern Missouri were described by one skywarn spotter as “horrible” with numerous accidents.
At 5:20PM, weather radar revealed a mixture of light precipitation overspreading much of the Chicago area south of the Northwest Tollway-Kennedy Expressway line.
Surface reports indicate that most of the precipitation is a mixture of rain, sleet and snow with little or no accumulation so far. Once the stronger dynamics of this storm kick in, the predominant precipitation type will quickly switch over to all snow. Bursts of heavy snow become increasingly more likely after 8PM.
At 3:45PM, radar and surface reports indicate that a mixture of rain and sleet has started to fall across many south and southwest Chicago suburbs. The rain and sleet is expected to change over to snow later this evening as temperatures cool not only at the surface but also aloft.
At 2:30 this afternoon, rain and snow continues to streak out of Iowa and Missouri toward the Chicago area. There are no changes to the WGN Weather Center forecast for this storm. We are still expecting between 5 and 9 inches of snow for a majority of the Chicago area. The precipitation will likely start out as rain or a rain/sleet mix before changing over to snow this evening.
The lone exception to the 5″ to 9″ forecast will be south of Interstate 80 and east of Interstate 55, or over Kankakee, southern Will, far southern Cook, Lake (IN) and Porter (IN) counties where 2″ to 6″ is expected. These areas will likely see some periods of sleet or perhaps even rain, which should cut into the snowfall totals there.
The snow will begin between 4PM and 8PM, with bursts of moderate to heavy snow likely from 7PM until 4AM. New computer model guidance arriving at the WGN Weather Center confirms the heavy snow potential, with snowfall rates of 1″ per hour possible after 7PM. Road conditions should deteriorate rather rapidly as the evening progresses as road crews struggle to keep up with the rapidly falling snow.
The snow will diminish to flurries or end rather rapidly Monday morning between 6AM and 9AM.
Snow is expected to begin in the Chicago area late this afternoon or evening as the next winter storm begins. Shortly before 1:30 p.m. the leading edge of the band of snow was crossing the Mississippi River from near the Quad Cities and extending southwest thorugh northwest Missouri and the Kansas city area into northeast Kansas.
Areas in southern Iowa have been reporting periods of heavy, wet snow. Some early totals include…
Cantril Iowa 1.3 inches
Burlington, Iowa 1.3 inches
Macomb, Illinois 1.0 inches
Downing, Missouri 1.5 inches
Fort Madison Iowa 2.5 inches
Augusta, Illinois 1.0 inches
Le Harpe, Illinois 2.0 inches