Meteorologists are predicting a bitterly cold and snowy start to the week for McHenry County residents.
The National Weather Service on Saturday issued a winter storm watch, in effect from 9 p.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. Monday. The watch predicts heavy snow will drop 5 to 7 inches in the area between Sunday night and Monday afternoon.
That means hazardous driving conditions on the roads. The service warned of sleet and blowing snow that could significantly reduce visibility and impact the morning and evening commutes.
A forecast for Sunday morning and afternoon includes partly sunny conditions – but temperature highs are expected to fluctuate from 7 to 11 degrees. Wind chill will make the morning feel much colder with readings of 10 below and 20 below zero. Northwest winds could gust between 5 and 10 mph in the morning and shift to the southwest in the afternoon.
Snow likely will fall in a burst Sunday evening and again after midnight, when southeast winds up to 30 mph are expected to blow snow through the area, according to the service.
Monday is expected to be cloudy with patchy, blowing snow in the morning. Highs will be in the lower 30s with temperatures falling into the mid-teens by the evening. There is a 20 percent chance of light snow falling Monday evening, according to the service.
The snowstorm this weekend will bring in to play many winter parking restrictions in municipalities around McHenry County.
The excessive cold has led several local governments to open warming shelters for anyone without power or heat to protect them from conditions that can be lethal.
The Safety Education Center, 1109 Crystal Lake Road, Lake in the Hills, is open as a warming shelter. Anyone who needs it can call the non-emergency line at 847-658-5676.
The Municipal Complex in Huntley, 10987 Main St., also is open as a shelter. If access is needed after the lobby is closed, anyone can use the red phone in the police department vestibule.
McHenry Township has opened the Whispering Hills Community Center at 4708 Jeffrey St., Johnsburg, through Feb. 1 as a 24/7 warming shelter with overnight sleeping accommodations.
Lake in the Hills Police reminded residents in a Nixle alert to check on elderly relatives, neighbors and pets.