BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
A storm front moving across the state this afternoon is expected to drop a mixed bag of precipitation locally by the afternoon.
The storm lifted up from the Plains states overnight, causing a winter storm advisory to be issued across western, central and east central Illinois as of Wednesday afternoon. The advisory lasts from 6 p.m. today through 6 a.m. Friday.
Indicators of what kind of precipitation and how much east central Illinois would be getting were still changing slightly on Wednesday. Only slim zones separated areas forecast to receive less than an inch from areas expected to receive 3-5 inches of snow or more.
The latest forecast issued by the National Weather Service put Vermilion County in a path to receive up to 3 inches of snow and less than one-tenth inch of freezing rain. Iroquois County is forecast to receive as much as 5 inches of snow.
Rick Harper, severe weather manager for Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency, said upper air will warm, changing the snow to sleet and freezing rain over the course of the storm.
“Models have been pretty consistent with the path the last couple of days, but it could always slide a bit one way or another changing us to more or less snow and/or ice,” he said Wednesday.
According to the National Weather Service in Lincoln, the winter precipitation will move into the Vermilion County region by mid- to late afternoon, starting with all snow before transitioning to a mix of snow and freezing rain before midnight.
Winds today are expected at up to 25 mph, lasting into the evening and causing possible blowing and drifting snow. The snow is forecast to continue into early Friday morning with a possibility of freezing drizzle.
Bob Scott, services and operations manager for the City of Danville Department of Public Works, said, as of Wednesday afternoon, city streets were already treated with brine and calcium chloride.
“We’ll be keeping an eye on it and be ready to respond,” he said of the storm.
He added crews will know more this morning about what to expect from the winter storm.
So far, it has been a quiet winter with just 10 events in which the City of Danville has sent out trucks. Scott said most have been minor situations where salt was needed for slick hills or intersections. Danville owns as many as 14 trucks for street clearing.
“I’m hoping this is the last hurrah for winter,” he said.
Early forecasts from the National Weather Service are calling for another chance of snow on Tuesday. So far, the area has received around 6 inches of snow for the season.