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We continue to monitor a strong storm system which will move into the region later Thursday night and Friday. While the potential for winter weather impacts is increasing, particularly across northern Illinois, uncertainties in storm track continue. A farther north track would bring mainly rain to the region along with an increased threat for thunderstorms and heavy rainfall/flooding, while a farther south track would shift the axis of impactful snow more into Indiana. Temperatures will only be in the 30s, leading to a wetter/heavier type snow where it is cold enough to accumulate, with ratios likely less than 9:1.
.LONG TERM... Issued at 228 PM CST Tue Feb 28 2023 Thursday through Tuesday... Primary forecast concern and challenge is a potential winter storm to impact the area on Friday. Low pressure is expected to develop over the southern Plains Thursday and rapidly deepen as it moves across MO Thursday night and into central IL Friday morning. Even with the similar tracks of the low from the 12z GFS/NAM/ECMWF, there is still large differences in the expected precipitation types/locations. Thermally, there isn't much cold air aloft initially. While some cooler air advects into the area, the colder temps aloft that arrive later Friday are probably in part, driven by the expected moderate/heavy precip intensity cooling the column enough to turn the precipitation to snow and this could be in a fairly narrow axis. An axis that will be highly dependent on the track of the surface low. The lack of colder air also makes for a difficult air temperature forecast. Temps may remain in the lower/mid 30s Thursday night into Friday morning and then may remain steady on Friday for much of the area. This also makes for a difficult precip type forecast. Freezing rain is certainly possible if temps were to be cooler and stay in the lower 30s but confidence is too low to have any freezing rain in the forecast from this distance. Precip intensity and cooling aloft could allow for some sleet, as shown by the ECMWF in particular, but confidence for duration and timing is too low to have sleet mention either. So have maintained rain/snow as precip types and for the most part, most of the area is in a rain/snow mix for much of the event. There does appear to be some consensus that as the precip begins later Thursday night into early Friday morning, it will start as rain south of I-80 with perhaps a mix into the southern metro by daybreak Friday morning. Much of Thursday evening is looking dry for the cwa. While this time period, through 00z Saturday, is now in the 72 hours of QPF and snowfall amounts, the snowfall forecast is highly uncertain. Currently, the highest snowfall amounts are generally along and north of I-88. While this matches the current possible track, the axis of heaviest snow could shift further south. Given the temperatures, the snow may end up being fairly wet, with low snow/water ratios, possibly keeping snow amounts lower. There is also the potential for heavy rain, wherever rain occurs, currently expected across the southern half or third of the cwa. Rainfall amounts may approach an inch. Given the current wet ground and higher river levels, this amount of rain will likely cause additional minor flooding and if rainfall amounts are higher and/or more convective, leading to short duration of moderate/ heavy rain, then flooding concerns will need to be monitored. There is a chance of thunderstorms, mainly in the far south and convection into the cwa, will also be dependent on the track of the low. Finally, the winds, blended winds were solidly into wind advisory levels, for Friday. Lowered these winds some in coordination with our neighboring offices but given the strength of the surface low, wind gusts into the 40-45 mph range certainly look possible but confidence from this distance is low. The winds will shift northerly Friday evening as the low departs and then slowly diminish into Saturday morning. Another system may move across the area later Sunday night and Monday bringing a chance of mainly rain showers to the area with temperatures near or above normal for the weekend and early next week. cms
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