For the second time in less than a week, the Chicago area is in line for a snowstorm that promises a mixture of freezing rain, sleet and snow with enough accumulation to bring out the snow shovels.
Early predictions from the National Weather Service pegged the potential snowfall at about 3-6 inches, about what the storm left the end of last week. But the weather service says it's still unclear which areas will be hit with what: If the temperature is above freezing, there will be less snow, and if it's below, there will be more.
The weather service has issued a winter storm watch from Tuesday morning through the evening.
The weather service said the snow will start sometime after midnight Tuesday morning, with freezing rain turning to sleet to wet snow by early afternoon. With winds gusting about 35 mph, some of that snow will drift and make Tuesday a bad day on the roads.
The track of the storm is over the Texas panhandle northeast and through Missouri and southern Illinois and central Indiana, the Lake Erie area early Wednesday. North of the low pressure path, winter storm watches are in effect from late Monday through Tuesday from Missouri through northern Illinois, the southeastern corner of Wisconsin, extreme northern Indiana and much of Lower Michigan.
In the Chicago area, there could be heavy snow of 6 inches or more Tuesday generally north of Interstate 80, with northeast winds at 25 to 35 mph whipping and blowing the snow, according to the Chicago Weather Center.
Rain, a period of freezing rain and sleet will spread north out of central Illinois early Tuesday, changing over to a heavy wet snow in the Chicago metro area and across the far west through north suburbs into southern Wisconsin.
A combination of freezing rain, sleet and snow will cause hazardous driving across northern Indiana Tuesday. The precipitation will be all snow across Illinois later Tuesday.
According to the Chicago Weather Center, February has been an unusually snowy month during a winter that has been unusually snowless. Through Saturday, there has been 10.1 inches of snow, about 136 percent of normal, while the winter's total has been 13.6 inches, way below normal.
Plains states hit again
A storm struck parts of the southern Plains today, creating blizzard conditions in Oklahoma and Texas and warnings in Kansas and Missouri that caught the brunt of a winter storm last week.
Snow fell at the rate of up to 2 inches per hour in the Amarillo, Texas, area, and the National Weather Service warned against travel, saying "most roads are impassable."
Airports in Amarillo and 120 miles to the south in Lubbock, Texas, were closed while Interstate 27 between the cities was shut down because of the blowing snow, state officials said.
Amarillo and parts north of Amarillo in the panhandle reported a foot of snow or more on Monday morning.
Parts of northwestern Oklahoma could get 16 inches to 24 inches of snow, with high winds that could create drifts up to 6 feet high, according to the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said it closed all highways in the Oklahoma panhandle because of blizzard conditions. Interstate 40 in the Texas panhandle was also closed, according to National Weather Service in Amarillo.
In Oklahoma City, some afternoon flights from Will Rogers World Airport were canceled in anticipation of the storm.
Kansas, hit by a foot or more of snow in spots last week, braced for possible worsening conditions on Monday and Tuesday.
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