Feb 19, 2004
Erie IL
Well I figured I'd start a NOW thread for the wintry side of this impressive storm system, now that it's beginning to move in. It will be interesting to see the varying precip types in different areas...

Light freezing rain has been falling on and off all morning here. Dry air from the east has been eating at the leading edge of the main precip band as it tries to move in. So far almost 0.10" ice accumulation. Much heavier freezing rain and sleet is now beginning to move in though. Temps here are hovering right at 30°. Winds have been gusting up to near 40mph all morning. So as we accumulate more ice things are not going to be good.

It's looking like a pretty severe icestorm this afternoon in my local area, and then tonight probably a transition to just plain rain as the low center nears.
Local media reports that law enforcement authorities are thinking about closing a large stretch of I-80 in eastern IA, between Iowa City and the Quad Cities.
I've got 0.30" ice accumulation here with numerous 3"-6" diameter tree branches down. The ice storm was somewhat of a suprise this far south, especially since early model runs were showing west central IL well south of the freezing line.
The radar loop is very impressive. I don't think the convection to the south is really "robbing" the moisture, as it's trajectory would put that stuff right through the IL/IN/MI.

Model QPF definitely indicates a convective "feel" to the precipitation, with lower MI seeing anything from 0.50 inches to 1.25 inches of QPF (depending on model and location).
1/2" sized snowflakes are mixing in with heavy sleet now. In fact, I think the dominant precip type is sleet now, with very little if any freezing rain. Now I'm starting to wonder if we'll see more snow than previously thought down here.

The media stations keep breaking in with live updates. I-80 is still open for now, but it may be closed at any time, so I'd avoid it if possible.
Freezing rain and sleet continue to fall moderately. We now have a 1/4" glaze. Snow has mixed in a few times, but didn't last but just a few minutes each time. It mixed in when the precip was coming down intensely.

The trees are really swaying now in these high winds. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to post. Unfortunately some areas around are beginning to lose power.

I'll keep updating from time to time if I still have power...
Radar still looking impressive, although I see cloud tops warming from central IL northwestward as stuff blows up to the south.

Latest 18Z NAM shows 850MB T's bumping up above freezing here in southeastern lower MI, although I'm still very unsure of precipitation type. I think the precipitation might be convective in nature, as seen across central IL.
We have somewhere in between 1/4 and 1/2 inch of ice accums. so far. Reports coming in about power lines and trees down of course. I expect more sleet and freezing rain to occur until early this evening when the changeover begins. We could meet blizzard criteria tonight as heavy snow and very high winds create whiteout conditions, total snowfall in my area should be around the 12" area when the heaviest snowfall ends on Sun.
closed now

Local media reports that law enforcement authorities are thinking about closing a large stretch of I-80 in eastern IA, between Iowa City and the Quad Cities.

Closure - Interstate 80
Interstate 80: from Exit 254 to Exit 277
road closed

last updated today at 2:18 PM
DTX doesn't seem to be coordinated with other NWSFO's, as they are going with an advisory south half of CWA (compared with WSW to the north and west and ICE warnings to the south and east). Can't say I blame them though - while heavy precipitation will be possible, I don't think there will be enough of one type to reach warning criteria. Like I said in the FCST thread, we'll probably end up with 0.10 inches of ZR, a couple inches of IP, and a couple inches of SN.
Out where I am in Lake County, Illinois we are at the southern most tip of the Blizzard Warning on the Wisconsin/Illinois/Lake Michigan boarder. Right now the snow is not reaching the ground due to the dry air in place. I'm still having a very tough time figuring this storm out and am not quite sure how much snow to expect here. The winds will certainly be within blizzard parameters, I know that much. As for the snowfall, I'm stumped.

Right now we're right around 30 degrees so we should start off as all snow. Just a little to my south there could be a fairly moderate icing problem, including the city of Chicago. Widespread power outages in Cook county is very possible. I do believe my area will see a change to sleet and freezing rain but so much depends on that freezing line. NE Illinois is very close to where the line will be and just 15 miles one way or the other will make a huge difference.

I'm going to go with 5-7 inches when it's all over. However, I wouldn't be surprised to only receive 2 inches and I also wouldn't be surprised to hit a foot of snow. Depends on the icing and how long it will stay all snow. I'm just at a loss...
Wow guys!! I am simply AMAZED! I've never seen it go from freezing rain to a blizzard in five minutes. We have VERY heavy snow falling now with winds gusting over 35mph. It just changed over as fast as someone flipping a switch. Very impressive!

If this keeps up things are going to get very interesting...
Nothing here in Dekalb, IL. My roommate reported a few sleet pellets hitting him in the face briefly on the way to the library. Looking at the radar there is a pretty strong group of echoes (thunderstorms??) just passing north of Peoria, IL. They have intensified momentarily, but it appears that up here, the dewpoints are still to low for too much precip at the surface.:confused: Skies to the SW are very dark, similar to what you would normally see if a thunderstorm was approaching. Winds have been howling out of the north much of the afternoon.

Winter Storm Warning was dropped and replaced with an Ice Storm Warning for much of the Chicago Metro area. Right now, it doesn't look like much will happen.

There must be a ton (relatively) of elevated CAPE over NC KS, and Nebraska.:eek: I am seeing quite a bit of strikage on NLDN coming out of that area. Bring some of that thundersnow over here!:cool:
Here's a quick snapshot of my backyard. This picture does not do this justice. Snow has accumulated 1" in the last 30 minutes.

The initial surge of snow changed back to all sleet for about 15 minutes. A half hour ago as a bright band of precip moved in it changed back. Snowing VERY intensely now...

It's now snowing here in bursts. It started about 5 minutes ago. I see that the area of precip from Des Moines to the Quad Cities is making little if any eastward progress.
Now at 2". 95% of that fell in the last hour.

Things are getting really bad around here now. Many power outages around the area. Luckily mine is still on, but my satellite keeps cutting out. Winds are gusting to almost 50mph now. Davenport hit 47mph at the 4pm ob.

I'm about 20 miles south of where the blizzard warning starts, but if this keeps up it will no doubt need to be extended south. Amounts will easily exceed a foot if it can stay all snow, but I'm expecting more of a mix later this eve cutting back on amounts.

It looks like much of Iowa is changing over now too, so you guys can expect conditions to go downhill very fast.

I'll keep posting updates as long as the power stays on!
Mixture of sleet and ice is now falling in Kokomo, about 45 miles north if Indianapolis. Ice, sleet and snow reported south of here. The winds at my house around 10 mph with gusts topping 25 mph in the past hour.
Blizzard conditions now starting to really kick in here in Northern IA as accums. are rapidly on the rise. I just went out in the country real quick to grab a couple of quick pics before it got extremely bad. I figured I wont get the chance for the rest of the duration of the storm now as there will be too much on the ground too quick. It was already bad enough on the roads out there with up to 1/2 inch of ice on them.

The last pic is showing how much snow started coming down as I was headed back into town....

1/2-3/4" of ice has accumulated now just to my southwest in the Quad Cities. Lots of damage is being done to area trees. 1/3" of ice here. Even though this isn't a huge amount of ice just yet, the fact that winds are exceeding 40mph on a regular basis is a big factor in causing the damage. I believe a few gravity waves have moved through, which may be responsible for the 50mph wind gusts we've been seeing from time to time. Davenport reported sustained 38mph, gusting to 47mph at 5pm again. The Moline ob has said calm the last two hours, so I believe ice has literally froze up their anemometer.

The snow has switched back to moderate freezing rain and sleet here now. It's interesting, it has put a cap on the snow we received just a little while ago, totally killing all the blowing and drifting snow. Very interesting.
Extremely heavy snow with whiteout conditions in Sioux City Iowa with 2-4" on the ground already. Visibilities WELL under a quarter of a mile . This is bad. Road conditions have quickly deteriorated.

Frontal passage was marked with a torrential sleet pour (not underestimating this) and then quickly changed to heavy snow.
Looks like the event is getting started here in the MKX CWA. I'm near the WI/IL border to the SW of Milwaukee, and the snow has just started with a sudden increase in surface wind out of the ENE. Conditions were overcast and dry and within the last 10 minutes visibility has dropped to under one mile.

The forecast seems on track for a heavy snow/blizzard event but I was a little concerned locally as to whether we will maintain all snow. The snow/ice line is only ~40 miles south of my location and the temp was hovering around 30*F. At this point, my concerns seem unfounded as it's now 28*F with steady snow.

Putting the work hat for a moment: No closures are being discussed, and we usually don't react to anything until it's too late and multiple crashes force us to close parts of the interstate.
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Snow just began in Madison and is already falling fairly heavily. Doesn't look like we'll see any mixed precipitation here. I'm figuring we have a very good shot of seeing between 12-16" here...with some snow falling 2" per hour overnight.... Take that coupled with winds gusting to 45-50 mph (all of southern Wisconsin is under a blizzard warning), and it is going to be really treacherous overnight tonight into tomorrow morning.

With the 6-13" that fell overnight last night in most of southern Wisconsin, there could be places with 24-28" of snow, and potentially drifting to 4 feet. Definitely a very historic event in Wisconsin.

A beautiful dust plume blowing cyclonically into the dry slot in eastern Kansas right now, too...one of the nicest visible satellite loops I've seen.
We have some heavy ice pellets falling right now on the nw side of Chicago. it is accumulating very quickly on non paved surfaces.
WOW! The snow started very light about 30 minutes ago with light winds and now we have moderate snowfall and sustained winds about 20 with gusts to about 40 (not measured -- these are guestimates). This could be an interesting evening.

I'm still worried that my area won't stay cold enough to keep it all snow, but if it does look out. If we get an ice storm there will certainly be power outages to follow as these winds will only increase. I'm in the blizzard warning area, so this could be an interesting night.
Here in Rockford the Snow just started within the last hour. Its dangerously slick out there as i just arrived back home.
Anyway between Blizzard Warnings, Winter storm and Ice Storm Warnings around I think its a wait n see thing to what will ultimately occur.
Very tough to call. In any event its a dangerous mess. Currently its not doing much here now as we did have a Mod/ heavy snow burst around 5pm. Current wind gusts are in low 30s here..looks like some heavier precip is forming to our south and heading NNE. acc. to the KLOT radar.
Should be an interesting night to say the least.