After a mild start to December, McHenry County could get its first taste of winter weather this week.
The National Weather Service predicts a major storm will hit the Midwest beginning Wednesday night and into Thursday, with heavy wind, rain and snow.
“The pattern shows that winter weather is likely this week,” said Matt Friedlein, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Chicago. “There’s a small chance of snow [Tuesday] morning with a much more significant chance between Wednesday night and Thursday night.”
The storm, which meteorologists at the National Weather Service have named Draco, currently is dumping snow on the Northwest and will make its way to the western Great Lakes by Wednesday night.
“This is a deep weather system that will bring strong winds and a lot of precipitation,” Friedlein said. “It’s uncertain how much of it will be snow.”
The Chicago area likely will see rain late Wednesday with the potential to change to snow during the day Thursdayy, Friedlein said.
Those traveling this week for the holidays – on the ground and in the air – could be affected by the winter weather.
“Low clouds, gusty winds, and the potential for blowing snow could affect airports,” Friedlein said.
On the roads, the Thursday afternoon rush-hour traffic could be significantly affected, Friedlein said.
Draco is expected to leave parts of Washington with a foot of snow, and Spokane on the eastern edge of the state is experiencing 50 mph winds. The storm will move Wednesday morning to the Colorado Rockies, where Aspen, in the west-central part of the state, likely will see more than a foot of snow, according to the National Weather Service.
Iowa, Wisconsin and parts of northern Illinois will see Draco on Wednesday night and into Thursday, possibly with snow accumulation of 6 inches or more.
Friedlein said the National Weather Service would have a better indication of snowfall for the Chicago area 48 hours before the storm hits.