If the National Weather Service's forecast for the weekend holds true, it looks like Saturday evening may be a good time for Parkland residents to keep off the road and stay safe and warm at home instead.
Although the NWS hasn't issued any advisories for the area as of press time Thursday, it's predicted that by daybreak Saturday a cold front will allow arctic air to filter in at the surface across the region with precipitation expected to develop and increase in coverage during the day Saturday into Sunday morning.
Models are still indicating a good chance for precipitation with the possibility of freezing rain as colder air at the surface undercuts the warmer air aloft. They are also showing differences in timing and placement, so for now it's expected that any significant snow amounts will remain north of I-70. As far as the Parkland, a mix of light snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain is in the forecast. The question remains, as always, how much and in what form will the area actually receive.
Here's the day-by-day breakdown for St. Francois and its surrounding counties:
NWS is calling for a chance of freezing rain before 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by a chance of rain. The skies will be cloudy with an expected high near 36 and a north wind of 7-9 mph.
Rain is likely Saturday evening, possibly mixed with freezing rain, with the precipitation changing over to all freezing rain after 7 p.m. The low will be around 22 with a north wind of around 9 mph. The chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New ice accumulation of anywhere from a tenth to two-tenths of an inch is possible.
Sunday will see a slight chance of freezing rain before 11 a.m. and then a slight chance of snow between 11 a.m. and noon. Conditions will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 35. The chance of precipitation is 20 percent.
There's no doubt that the amount of wintery precipitation that's fallen in the Parkland so far hasn't lived up to NWS forecasts — and this may be another case where that proves to be true.
In any case, this is not expected to be a significant icing event but don't forget that even a thin layer of ice on the road can quickly cause hazardous driving conditions. Any precipitation is expected to taper off by midday on Sunday and melt quickly on Monday when temperatures are expected to move up into the 40s under clear skies.
For the latest NWS advisories, watches and warnings, check out the Daily Journal website at www.dailyjournalonline.com.