Steady Snow, Hazardous Travel Rings in the New Year

Weather

Late-Day Wintry Mix: 

We can consider the last day of 2021 the “calm before the storm” as a fairly quiet New Year’s Eve precedes the first winter storm of the season. 

Similar to Thursday, most if not all of the daylight hours Friday will be spent under mostly cloudy to overcast skies. Despite the expansive cloud cover, a light southerly to southeasterly wind will help bring our afternoon highs up by a few degrees, with most landing in the mid to upper 30s.Late in the day, a weak disturbance will help slide a frontal boundary into the region, bringing a slim chance for a scattered mix of light rain and snow. Slick spots will be a possibility. Chances look to come to an end pretty quiet, leaving us with a mostly cloudy sky as we prepare to jump into 2022. 

New Year’s Day Storm:

Earlier this morning, the National Weather Service upgraded Carroll and Whiteside Counties to a Winter Storm Warning. While much of the region still sits under a Winter Storm Watch, I do think that will change as the day carries on and details about this winter storm become clearer. 

Saturday starts off quiet and cloudy, with snow chances ramping up into the mid-day hours. This morning’s round of computer forecast models suggest that snow will spread quickly from the southeast to the northeast across northern Illinois and last through the remainder of New Year’s Day.

Timing & Amounts:

The steadiest and heavier snowfall rates will likely occur during the afternoon and evening, hours with a few lingering snow showers lasting into midnight Sunday morning. Not to mention that the upcoming snow potential will be accompanied by a strong northerly to northeasterly wind, with gusts peaking around 30-35 mph. 

As far as snowfall amounts, the heaviest snow axis will remain to the south and west of the viewing area. However, Rockford has the potential to see 3″-6″ by Saturday night, with slightly higher totals in between highway 20 and Interstate-88. While that is great news for any snow-lovers across Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, it’s the complete opposite for those who plan to traveling. 

Hazardous Travel Expected:

If possible, alter your travel plans to avoid being on the roadways during the afternoon and evening. Road temperatures will be cold enough for accumulations to quickly occur. We also have to keep in mind the likelihood of blowing and drifting snow thanks to Saturday’s gusty winds. 

Now, if you can’t avoid being on the roads, allow a lot of extra time and drive slower on the roads. It’ll also be important to have an updated emergency kit just in case you happen to get stuck. Road conditions unfortunately will still be very questionable come Sunday morning as a moisture on the roads will quickly freeze thanks to plummeting temperatures. Even though the end of the upcoming weekend features plenty of sun, highs Sunday afternoon will be limited to the mid to upper teens. 

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