Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Travel Outlook for the Holiday Weekend

If you're heading out for holiday weekend you'll want to keep an eye on the forecast. There are two systems we're keeping an eye on for the holiday weekend that could impact travel plans, depending on which day you plan to leave. 

If you're planning on an extended weekend both today and Thursday will be mostly free of travel issues. Despite a few flurries this morning across far northern Illinois, today will be a fairly quiet day. An upper level wave is passing through northern Wisconsin this afternoon. This is providing a few flurries for the Stateline, but light snow is falling in central and north Wisconsin. This could cause a few travel issues if you are heading north today, however accumulations will be low in central Wisconsin. High pressure then builds into the Plains late today into Thursday. This will allow for more sunshine across the Midwest and fairly quiet weather.

Thursday will be the best day to travel, because snow moves in for Friday.

Moisture will be on the increase from the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. Combine this with an area of low pressure Friday, and accumulating snowfall is possible by Friday evening. Accumulations could add up to a couple inches which could cause some issues for last minute shoppers and evening commuters.

 Late Saturday night could be slick with freezing rain falling into Sunday morning.  This, as low pressure begins to develop over the central Plains. The low will quickly strengthen as it moves into the Plains, western Iowa and Minnesota. Because the low will strengthen quickly, warm air will surge north ahead of the system. This puts northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin in the 'warm sector' of the system, with temperatures Christmas Day warming into the low 40's.  Even though we're on the warm side of this system, light freezing rain is possible overnight Saturday (Christmas Eve) into early morning Sunday (Christmas). This could cause slick roads early Christmas morning.  You may also want to salt your roof so Santa doesn't slide right off!  ;)

The freezing rain potential doesn't last long Sunday morning as it transitions to rain by 9am. Light rain will arrive on Sunday ahead of the warm front, but most of the rain arrives late Sunday night into Monday morning. Even a few rumbles of thunder are possible Sunday evening and overnight. So while Christmas Day may be a bit soggy, the rain will stay fairly light through a good chunk of the holiday. Hopefully there will still be some snow around so we can call it a white Christmas!

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