You didn't really think we could go too much longer without snow, did you? Well, it appears we will now have to pay for our long, record-breaking stretch without it.
A blizzard is unfolding near the Colorado/Kansas border as we speak, and will roll northeastward into our area by Thursday. This storm will be known for its gusty winds, from 50 to 60 miles per hour, causing extensive blowing and drifting and possible whiteout conditions.
According to the National Weather Service, rain will come first Wednesday night, with possible thunderstorms beginning in the early morning on Thursday and lasting most of the day. The snow will start about 5 p.m. Thursday and continue into the early morning hours on Friday.
A winter storm watch is in effect for our area for Thursday. Total accumulation of 2 to 6 inches is likely, with higher amounts in the north and northwest suburbs. From the NWS:
"THE COMBINATION OF THE SNOW AND VERY STRONG WINDS WILL RESULT IN GREATLY REDUCED VISIBILITIES AND POSSIBLY NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. FALLING TEMPERATURES WILL CAUSE ROADS TO BECOME SNOW COVERED AND TRAVEL TREACHEROUS. THIS WILL LIKELY IMPACT THE LATTER PORTION OF THE EVENING RUSH HOUR. THE STRONG WINDS MAY ALSO RESULT IN MINOR DAMAGE AND SPORADIC POWER OUTAGES."
Chance of preciptation is 100 percent for both days.
Once the snow stops, prepare for frigid temperatures and wind chills. The temperature will plummet from a high of 46 degrees on Thursday to an expected 29 degrees on Friday, but it will feel like 16. The sun returns over the weekend, with a high of 32 predicted for Saturday and 37 for Sunday.
Will we have more snow for Christmas? If the forecasters are on target, the chance is 30 percent. But it's still early.
Be Ready for Possible Late Start for District 205 Schools
It's finals week and students in District 205 have a few more days of school before the holiday break. Will the storm impact their schedules?
Three years ago, District 205 implemented a late start plan as an alternative to canceling school for an entire day in the event weather conditions are expected to improve following an overnight storm. Late-start days mean the district does not have to use end of-the-year emergency make-up days.
If a late-start schedule is activated:
- Schools will begin exactly two hours later than usual.
- All buses will operate exactly two hours behind their usual schedule.
- Families will be notified by phone and email, and the information will be posted on the District 205 homepage by 5:45 a.m.
- If there is a school cancelation, the notice will state “School Closed Today.”
For complete details, visit the Emergency Closings page of the District 205 website.
DuPage Residents Urged to Use Less Salt
Following information provided by DuPage County:
DuPage County Stormwater Management is encouraging residents to reduce excessive use of road salt this winter. Despite a mild 2011-12 winter, chloride concentrations resulting from stormwater runoff carrying road salt into streams and storm drains were higher than in recent years.
Summer water quality sampling of the West Branch DuPage River by the DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup revealed higher chloride levels despite fewer instances of snow. DRSCW speculates the minimal precipitation—both in the winter and summer months—led to the increase in chloride concentrations because of a decrease in water levels.
“Many people think about nonpoint source pollution in stormwater runoff as a problem only during the warmer months,” said Stormwater Management Planning Committee Chairman Jim Zay. “However, the chemicals laid on the ground during snowy, winter months also have lasting effects.”
Stormwater Management is encouraging residents to reduce excessive use of road salt by utilizing best management practices. Removing snow prior to applying a deicer, applying just enough to reduce hazard and sweeping up un-dissolved product after a storm for reuse are all ways to reduce the instances of salt running into DuPage waterways.
“Deicing best management practices may require more time or energy, but reducing chlorides in DuPage County’s streams and rivers ensures our aquatic habitats remain clean, healthy and enjoyable for recreational use,” said Chairman Zay.
DuPage County pre-wets road salt and removes snow prior to applying deicers in an effort to reduce chloride concentrations. For more information on chloride reduction, visit the DuPage County website.