CHICAGO - Much to sort through for today and tomorrow with a constellation of warnings, advisories and watches to address.
First off, it’s mild. In fact, it’s already the warmest day since Christmas.
Highs should climb into the lower 50s area wide. Rainfall won’t start until late morning north, continuing in rather light and spotty fashion toward sunset, then ramping up to full throttle downpours between 6-11 p.m.
Flooding can be a problem almost anywhere due to the frozen ground, but it’s most likely over the southern half of Chicagoland. Right now, the flood watch is confined to Newton and Jasper counties in our DMA.
Winds will be howling today with a wind advisory up for roughly I88/290 south until 6 p.m. Winds out of the SW could gust to 45 mph.
Around midnight, colder air drills into the rain and there will be a changeover to some freezing rain/sleet then snow. Impacts should be minor on major roadways during this period. In fact, it may be "dry" tomorrow morning, boding well for the early commute.
As the next wave of low pressure approaches from the SW, snow arrives around midday and will likely be at its heaviest during the evening commute.
The snow could be heavy at times and with gusty winds, visibilities could be compromised making for difficult travel. A winter storm warning will be in effect for areas close to and south of I-80. These areas could have 8 inches of snow.
North of that, a winter weather advisory will be in effect for the city and most of Cook County, along with DuPage, Kane and DeKalb counties from 3 a.m. until 6 p.m. Thursday where 3 to 6 inches seem likely. It should be noted that computer models are still showing vast differences in snowfall amounts, but the lower-end amounts seem preferred at this point. Still plenty of impact though especially tomorrow evening.
Due to the heavy weight of the snow and strong winds, there could be some power outages, which would certainly be more likely if the doomsday scenario of significantly-higher snow totals is realized.