The likelihood that a strong winter storm could significantly affect holiday travel over much of the Midwest and the Ohio River Valley on Thursday and Friday is growing as Christmas draws nearer.
Snowfall that accumulates widely is forecast from Wednesday night to Friday afternoon.
The precise sums are still unknown.
Blizzard conditions are possible and strong winds will cause extensive blowing and drifting snow. Expected to have a significant impact on travel.
It’s anticipated to be incredibly cold and dangerously windy Thursday night through Christmas Eve.
Although the worst is anticipated for Thursday and Friday, the storm system is anticipated to begin affecting Central Illinois on Wednesday night and last until Friday evening. As the storm approaches, there is increasing certainty that it will have a substantial impact on Thursday and Friday holiday travel.
VIDEO FORECAST: A very active and cold weather pattern across the country will bypass our weather this week, leaving us with a warming trend. Here are all the details.#AZwx #CAwx pic.twitter.com/EGXe4Lx1u8
— NWS Phoenix (@NWSPhoenix) December 19, 2022
The storm’s course is moving further west according to the most recent model advice, which will have a bigger impact in Central Illinois. This has been reflected in the GEFS model since Friday when the low-pressure system was initially focused over the east coast and is currently centered over the border between Indiana and Ohio.
On Friday at 12 a.m. Central time, all of the images in the loop below are current. As the storm deepens on Thursday night and Friday, this western shift not only brings the most snow to Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan but also places Central Illinois in a position to suffer very severe winds and maybe blizzard conditions.
The worst of the cold will arrive in Central Illinois on Friday and Saturday after Arctic air pushes in on Thursday. Both days will have lows below zero and highs in the single digits. The forecast wind chill on Thursday night, Friday, and Friday night will be close to -20°, but it might get below -30° if the storm track moves even further west and the winds pick up.
As the area’s freezing temperatures approach, the storm may also cause power disruptions, which might make it difficult for households to stay warm.
It’s important to note that the high temperatures on Christmas Day are currently expected to be in the upper single digits and lower teens. This would make Christmas Day the coldest since the middle of the 1980s.
There is a great likelihood that we will experience extensive accumulation of snow and severe winds, which will probably have a considerable impact on holiday travel, even though the snowfall levels and wind gusts are yet unknown. Here are some things you can do to get ready.
Be prepared for the effects of holiday travel on Thursday and Friday.
To prevent traveling on those days, change your trip time.
Find winter clothing including a thick coat, hat, gloves, scarves, snow boots, and snow pants. Cover exposed pipes and external spigots.
Before the storm strikes, fill up your car with gas and place an emergency kit inside. Keep an eye on the most recent prediction from a dependable source.
Do not pay much credence to model snow forecasts on social media that lack context.