10:30pm UPDATE: The going forecast appears to be on track for Thursday, although I am keeping a close eye on the potential for some drier air moving in during the day Thursday. If this occurs, it could cause the gradient from all snow to mixed precipitation, including freezing rain or drizzle, to become even tighter/sharper. This could cut down on some of the snow totals, but increase the risk for freezing rain for areas along I-88.

Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories will go into effect late Wednesday night/Thursday morning, lasting through Thursday evening as a round of accumulating snow is set to impact the area.

Skies remain cloudy Wednesday evening with temperatures falling through the 30s. Breezy northwest winds have pushed wind chill values down into the teens and 20s. Overnight lows are set to drop into the upper 20s, right around 29 degrees for Rockford, but will fall throughout the afternoon Thursday with the passage of low pressure across central Illinois.

The snow is already beginning to fall over the Plains and will continue to spread northeast through the night, reaching far northwest Illinois just before daybreak Thursday. It’s possible that areas to the south and southeast of Rockford could see a mixture of snow and sleet through the morning, with some decent sleet accumulations. Further north near the state line the bulk of the precipitation is likely to fall as all snow.

Heavier bands of snow are possible to the north and northwest of the surface low, lining up across south-central Wisconsin and north-central Illinois. There, snow totals in excess of five or six inches are possible. But those amounts are likely to remain isolated as generally three to six inches of snow is expected area wide.

There are likely to be impacts to the morning commute Thursday, but the greatest impacts will come during the afternoon and early evening as the heavier snow falls. Heavier snowfall rates could limit visibility for a time, along with the increasing north to northeast wind. Wind gusts of 30-35 mph are possible during that time. East/west roads are likely to be impacted with some blowing and drifting snow, as well as some north/south roads. The snow will start out on the heavier side as temperatures are close to 30 degrees. The composition of the snow may ultimately limit the extreme impact of blowing and drifting. Either way, untreated roads and open areas will experience slick conditions through the afternoon and evening.

The snow should be coming to an end late in the evening with only a few flurries possible into the overnight. High pressure moving in will bring temperatures down into the low teens Thursday night, with highs in the mid 20s Friday afternoon.