Updated: snow, lunar eclipse on the horizon tonight

Updated: snow, lunar eclipse on the horizon tonight

Freeze warning to the south

The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for Shelby, Moultrie and Coles counties in effect from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Overnight low temperatures are expected to be in the upper 20s to lower 30s.  You should bring any sensitive plants inside.

The forecast

Yes, you heard correctly: We're likely to get some snow today, and some below-freezing temperatures are ahead.

The forecast from the National Weather Service:

  • This AfternoonPatchy drizzle, then rain likely, mainly after 4pm. Cloudy, with a steady temperature around 42. Breezy, with a north wind 18 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
  • TonightRain and snow likely before 10pm, then a chance of snow between 10pm and 1am. Cloudy, then gradually becoming partly cloudy, with a low around 28. North northwest wind 14 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
  • TuesdaySunny, with a high near 46. North northwest wind 10 to 13 mph.

Snow stats

State Climatologist Jim Angel said between 1981 and 2010, the Champaign-Urbana area has averaged four-tenths of an inch of snow in April.  In fact, we saw that amount - four-tenths of an inch - in 2009.  April snow has also been spotted in C-U in 1986, 1989, 1992, 1993 and 1994.  And back in 1982, a whopping 6.6 inches of snow fell in April.

-Tim Ditman

Total lunar eclipse early Tuesday morning

From the National Weather Service:

Night owls that are up in the wee hours of Tuesday morning may be able to see a total lunar eclipse, weather permitting.  A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are lined up, with the Moon completely within the Earth's shadow.

This eclipse will be visible througout most of North America.  The partial phase of the eclipse begins at 12:58 am CDT.  The Moon will be increasingly covered by the Earth's shadow, until the total phase begins at 2:06 am.  This total eclipse phase will last for 78 minutes, until 3:24 am.  After that, the shadow will still cover a portion of the Moon until 4:33 am.

In central Illinois, the main concern will be whether or not skies will be clear enough.  After snow ends Monday evening, skies will clear from west to east.  It currently appears that areas west of I-55 will have the best chances of seeing the eclipse.  Areas between I-55 and I-57 have about a 50/50 chance of seeing at least part of the eclipse, while locations east of I-57 will mostly likely remain too cloudy to see much of it.

More information is available at this link on NASA's homepage.


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