Winter storm advisory: Here we go again ...

Winter storm advisory: Here we go again ...

Forecast revised to 4 to 6 inches by Monday morning

CHAMPAIGN — Officials in East Central Illinois are bracing for another heavy winter storm that is expected to begin creeping into the area tonight and be in full force Sunday.

But the National Weather Service has backed off a bit from the 10 inches earlier predicted.

About 3:15 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service in Lincoln issued a weather advisory saying snow will begin this evening with more significant accumulations expected after midnight and into Sunday morning. Champaign, Vermilion, Ford and Iroquois counties were under the advisory while Douglas and Edgar counties remained under a warning.

The snow will continue through Sunday and end early Monday, with accumulations of 4 to 6 inches over much of East Central Illinois, with locally higher amounts possible.

As they have so many times this winter, officials are warning drivers to stay off the roads. Conditions could become particularly dangerous as winds from out of the north at 10 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 30 mph, will add to visibility and drifting problems.

Douglas County Emergency Management Agency Director Joseph Victor urged residents to plan ahead and "carefully consider whether travel is necessary this weekend."

"The approaching storm is expected to be a virtual repeat of the snow emergency" that hit the area during the week of Jan. 3, Victor said in a press release.

On Friday night, the National Weather Service was forecasting accumulations of 8 to 10 inches north of Interstate 70 with lesser amounts to the south — though south-central Illinois could get some freezing rain and sleet mixed with the snow.

Champaign public works spokesman Kris Koester said plow crews are scheduled to report to work at 8 p.m. tonight and work in alternating shifts around the clock through the storm.

City officials expect the snow to fall in two waves, but without much of a break between them. Koester said that means crews might get a chance on Sunday morning to catch up on plowing primary streets before the second round hits, but for the most part, roads are likely to be snow-covered throughout the storm.

Plows crews will focus on primary routes and requests from emergency personnel during the storm and up until 12 hours after the snowfall ends — that leaves a good chance that residential streets will remain snow-covered at least into Monday morning.

Officials in Mahomet have already announced emergency snow routes will be activated as of 9 tonight. At that time, vehicles parked on Center Street, Marietta Drive, Peacock Drive, Fawn Drive, North and South Garden Court, Vista View Court and all of the North Ridge subdivision will be towed at the owner's expense.

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whatithink wrote on March 01, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Where's the snow?  Are weather forecasters ever right?

sweet caroline wrote on March 01, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Unfortunately, the weather forecasters have been right so far this winter.  Let's hope they're way off base this time and we won't get get hit very hard.