Up to 7 inches of snow forecast in parts of Illinois this weekend

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for parts of central and southern Illinois - with as many as 7 inches of snow forecast.

Weather service officials say the snow is expected to start late Friday, developing from a winter storm system in the southwestern U.S. Snow is to continue into Saturday, sometimes mixed with rain. The heaviest amounts are forecast between 5 and 7 inches west and southwest of Springfield to Shelbyville to Olney. Slippery road conditions are expected.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency said Thursday that it is coordinating with state agencies if assistance is needed. State officials urged the public to prepare for the storm.

Weather service forecasters say the Chicago area can expect between 1 and 3 inches of snow late Friday and into Saturday.