DANVILLE — Local residents who want a white Christmas this year might have to deal with extra winter precipitation as well.
Early forecasts are warning for potentially two bouts of freezing rain for Vermilion County and east central Illinois in the coming days as a weather system moves northeast from the Oklahoma area through Illinois and Indiana.
Rick Harper, severe weather manager for the Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency, said Wednesday afternoon there are preliminary indications of a mix of rain and freezing rain descending locally on Friday night.
The freezing rain is expected to reappear again Saturday, once again mixed with rain. Harper said daytime temperatures on Saturday should keep the potential for freezing rain at bay for this area until Saturday night.
“All of this, of course, is subject to change if the storm path varies or temps fall faster than expected,” Harper said, noting the area’s biggest threat appears to be Friday night’s precipitation.
He indicated it appears the main threat for a major ice storm will remain to the north and west of the area, with cities stretching from Springfield to Bloomington to Kankakee in the crosshairs as of Wednesday’s forecasts.
Locally, rains are forecast to begin today and as temperatures increase to around 44 degrees during the day and as high as 40 degrees overnight and into Friday. The ice concern, according to Harper, comes Friday night. Temperatures then are forecast to drop to around 30 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Lincoln.
Another round of snow is still forecast to emerge from the weather on Sunday, but at this point only 2 inches or less is expected in Vermilion County and east central Illinois, Harper said.
Across the state and around the nation, the winter weather system is expected to create poor travel conditions Friday night into Saturday from Illinois across to Ohio and the East Coast.