ROCKFORD (WREX) — A blast of wintry weather is on its way out of the Stateline. Snow began Wednesday afternoon, with the heaviest snow flying during the late evening hours.
Snow is likely to linger during the predawn hours, but should become lighter and less widespread as the morning continues. Despite the tapering intensity of the snow, a winter weather advisory remains in effect until 10 a.m. This advisory was issued not for the snow that's falling, but the drifting and blowing snow that could cover roads. Not only is blowing snow going to lead to slick travels early on, but also sharply reduced visibility.
Winds have picked up following a cold front, with gusts out of the north-northwest to 30 miles per hour whipping snow across area roads. As temperatures continue to fall, the threat for a flash freeze is there. This can happen when moisture on the roads quickly freezes with rapidly dropping temperatures.
Thursday afternoon and evening:
Travel and road conditions should greatly improve by the lunch hour. While a few flurries cannot be ruled out, road conditions aren't likely to be impacted. The winds are still going to be problematic, but the gustiest winds are going to subside by the late-afternoon. The story for the second half of Thursday is going to be the cold temperatures and wind chills.
Looking upstream, wind chills in Iowa are already dropping below zero. Since temperatures through the day locally are going to remain in the lower to middle teens, wind chills are almost certainly going to remain in subzero territory.
Clouds clear the Stateline overnight Thursday into Friday morning, which is going to mean one thing: a cold night ahead!
Valentine's Day is going to kick off with a biting chill. Temperatures during the predawn hours are likely to bottom out near 10° below zero. While gusty winds won't be an issue Friday, wind chills to start the day are likely to approach -20°.
One of the coldest Valentine's Days in history is likely, as highs only climb into the lower teens. Wind chills through the afternoon Friday are going to hover around the 0° mark. The coldest weather of the winter season is pretty quick to move out, though.
The weekend ahead:
Bitter cold Thursday into Friday give way to warmer temperatures for the weekend. It'll still be a cold start Saturday morning, as temperatures are going to be below 10°. Highs both weekend days rise into the lower and middle 30s.
There are snow chances for Saturday afternoon, but accumulations look to remain light. Sunday looks drier, but clouds may be a bit slower to move out. Partly cloudy to mostly cloudy skies give way to increasingly cloudy skies by late Sunday.