DANVILLE — Local officials want residents to heed warnings and prepare now for what is expected to be a snowy and frigid weekend into the beginning of next week.
During a winter storm conference call Friday afternoon, Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency officials learned the region is under a winter storm watch starting at 6 p.m. Saturday through midnight Monday.
Rick Harper, severe weather manager for the Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency, said a winter storm system named Ion threatens to bring significant snow accumulations to parts of the region starting Saturday night and continuing through most of Sunday.
Snow accumulations of 8 to 12 inches will be possible mainly southeast of a Carlinville-to-Champaign-to-Hoopeston line by Sunday evening, with lesser amounts farther north. The heaviest snow will likely fall overnight Saturday into Sunday morning.
The National Weather Service on Friday afternoon also warned of blowing and drifting snow and near blizzard conditions starting at 6 p.m. Saturday and ending by midnight Monday. The heaviest drifting snow is expected between midnight Sunday and 6 p.m. Sunday.
The snow should be fairly dry and considerable blowing and drifting is possible on Sunday as winds turn to the north and gust more than 30 mph at times, according to the National Weather Service .
Once the snow ends Sunday evening, cold wave conditions will settle in with wind chills of 15 below zero to 30 below zero Sunday night, and wind chills of minus-20 to minus-35 possible by early Monday and Tuesday mornings.
The nighttime low regular temperature Sunday night through Tuesday night will be below zero, with minus-5 to minus-15 being common. The daytime high regular temperature Monday will be zero to minus-10, and it will be possibly below zero on Tuesday also.
“If people have travel plans later this weekend, be alert for the potential for significant snowfall over parts of our area, followed by life-threatening low wind chills,” Harper said.