Wintry mess to begin Friday evening

A wintry mess is expected to move into the area at about 6 p.m. this evening with rain, then freezing rain, sleet and snow through Saturday night. Weather models are showing heavier snow to the north of Lee County but dangerous travel warning still are in place. Image courtesy of National Weather Service Quad Cities

Winter storm watch changed to warning Friday morning


LEE COUNTY – Just 24 hours before the year’s first major snow storm and meterologists are still guessing as to the major impact zones, but there’s no guessing it’s gonna get messy.

Thursday forecasts showed rain turning to freezing rain and sleet Friday night into Saturday morning, before turning to snow on Saturday with accumulations totaling up to eight inches locally.

Image courtesy of National Weather Service Quad Cities

However, different forecast centers are showing up to three different models, with two of the three moving the heavy snow north to the center of the state.

The national weather service out of the Quad Cities shifted Thursday’s local winter storm watch to a warning at 3 a.m. Friday morning.

The new warning says precipitation is expected to begin with rain this afternoon turning to freezing rain and sleet as colder temps are pulled down from the north with the system.

Localized projections now are for 2 to 7 inches of snow and sleet on top of two-tenths of an inch of ice occurring from about 6 p.m Friday to late Saturday night.

Forecasters are calling for patchy blowing snow which could compound already dangerous driving conditions. Strong wind gusts coupled with the ice accumulations could also pose problems with tree limbs and power lines throughout the area.

Travel is only advised if needed and with water, food and a flashlight in the vehicle in case of emergencies.

Friday’s models have moved the heavier snowfall to the central part of the state as the system has moved further north than expected earlier this week.

Snow is also in the forecast for Sunday and Monday nights and Wednesday for the area.

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