Winter storm: McHenry County snow totals expected to be 8-12 inches by midday Saturday

High temperatures early next week expected to hover around zero

Ron Emmerich clears the driveway of his Marengo home Friday afternoon.

Another band of winter weather was hitting McHenry County on Friday as the area braced for a snow storm to start the weekend that could bring with it blizzard-like conditions and up to a foot of snow.

The National Weather Service forecast heavy snow, with accumulations of more than 8 inches and strong winds with gusts of up to 45 mph. The warning, which runs through noon Saturday, applied to McHenry, Lake, Cook, Kane, DuPage, Kendall, DeKalb, Ogle, Lee, La Salle, Will and Grundy counties.

“This, obviously, is going to be heavy snow. Roads are going to be bad. Traffic is going to be hazardous and difficult at times,” said Mark Ratzer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Chicago/Romeoville office. “If people don’t have to be out, if they can work from home or postpone other activities, it’s probably a good time to do that. These are some of the strongest types of storms we have in winter in this part of the world. People should take it seriously and hunker down and try not to be out in it because that’s when bad things can happen.”

Commuters were facing a hazardous morning drive on Friday to kick off the second snowstorm of the week. Motorists throughout northern Illinois were experiencing snow covered roads due to blowing snow on Friday morning, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. .

Ron Emmerich clears the driveway of his Marengo home Friday afternoon.

The snow was expected to fall through Saturday morning. Areas north of Interstate 80 could get the most snow, with between 8 inches to a foot expected in total by Saturday morning.

Algonquin, Crystal Lake, McHenry and Woodstock were among the McHenry County cities included in the winter storm warning.

The new round of winter weather comes on top of a storm on Monday and Tuesday that brought a sloppy mix of rain, snow and sleet and dumped varying amounts of snow over parts of the county and northern Illinois. According to the National Weather Service, snowfall totals in McHenry County earlier in the week ranged from 3.3 inches in Woodstock and 3.6 inches in Crystal Lake to 4 inches in Trout Valley and 6 inches in Harvard.

“Tuesday’s storm may have been a warmup for an even bigger one starting tonight and lasting through Friday,” McHenry County said in a Thursday post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Significant snowfall, and possible blizzard conditions, are tentatively forecast. Please monitor updates and plan accordingly.”

McHenry County could get a foot of snow Ratzer said.

Those closer to the Chicago area into Joliet might see a brief mix of rain mixed with snow later in the morning on Friday, but most of it will be snow for the majority of the day. At some points, snow could fall as quickly as 1 inch per hour.

Other parts of northern Illinois were expected to get socked by the storm as well: Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, Kane and DuPage counties could get more than 8 inches of snow and powerful wind gusts as well, the weather service said.

La Salle, Kendall, Grundy, Cook, and Will counties were expected to receive snow accumulation of more than 6 inches with similar wind gusts and similar travel difficulties. The snow in these areas will mix with and potentially change to entirely rain mid-moring to mid-afternoon Friday before changing back to snow, and snow could fall faster than 1 inch per hour at times.

Whiteside and Bureau counties can expect between 5 to 10 inches of snow, with ice accumulations of around one-tenth of an inch. The NWS said snow will spread across this area from south to north, and some areas south of Interstate 80 could see freezing rain and rain mixed with snow at times. Colder air will move into the area later in the day Friday along with strong winds, potentially creating near blizzard conditions.

The National Weather Service also warned of treacherous road conditions during the storm.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute,” the warning said.

Travel during Friday evening’s commute could be worse, Ratzer said, since wind is expected to pick up. While snowfall will be heavy, it isn’t likely to be as wet as Tuesday’s, so blowing conditions could make driving hazardous. Some areas could see 1 mile or less of visibility at times Friday night, Ratzer said.

“It’s going to be slippery,” Ratzer said. “So that’s also an issue. People are just going to have to slow down, leave a lot of following space, which doesn’t always happen. It will be pretty hazardous there for a while from what we expect. It’s not going to be a good commute.”

The majority of the storm will wind down Friday night into Saturday, though snowfall is expected to continue into Saturday morning. The winter storm warning runs through noon Saturday.

Once the snow passes through, bitter cold is sure to follow. The high temperatures in McHenry County are forecasted to be around zero on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Temperatures will settle just around the freezing line Thursday night into Friday and remain there for much of the day. However, those numbers are expected to plummet on the weekend, Ratzer said. Saturday morning will see temperatures in the 20s and fall from there, dropping to the teens Saturday afternoon and single digits Saturday night. Wind chills will be frigid, he said.

The NWS is forecasting a flash freeze after the storm, starting Sunday morning that could see temperatures drop into the single digits or colder, with lows expected to be below zero. Wind chills could cause be as low as minus-30 degrees in the morning, and ice jams may develop on rivers.

Sunday night temperatures are forecasted to be 10 or 15 degrees below zero with wind chills falling to 20 or 25 below zero. That cold snap will likely last through Tuesday, leaving northern Illinois in a chilly haze.

“A real arctic blast,” Ratzer said. “Kind of a one-two punch with the snow. We’re really going for a turn from what we’ve had.”

McHenry County Emergency Management Agency Director David Christensen had some cold weather tips, including:

  • Have some extra food on hand in case you can’t get to the store.
  • Make sure your furnace is working and make sure the humidity setting is appropriate.

“Bundle up and stay home.”

If you must go out, Christensen said to have a cold weather kit in your car, including an extra blanket and other necessities.

The Emergency Management Agency has a list of warming centers:

  • Huntley Municipal Complex - POLICE DEPARTMENT ONLY, 10911 Main Street. The lobby is normally open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and locked after hours, but a police supervisor can open it after hours if needed.
  • PADS Cold Weather Program - leave message with Jeanna before 10 p.m. at 815-759-7133.
  • McHenry Municipal Center. 333 S. Green Street. Those needing to utilize the warming center should enter the McHenry Police Department entrance and ask for assistance.
  • Port Barrington Community Room, 75 S. Circle Avenue. Available to Port Barrington Residents only. Call number on door to open room.
  • Village of Prairie Grove, 3125 Barreville Road. Call first, 815-455-1411.
  • Spring Grove Village Hall, 7401 Meyer Road. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Spring Grove Fire Department, 8214 Richardson Road, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Woodstock Police Department Lobby, 656 Lake Ave., for emergency help only.
  • Lakemoor Village Hall, 28581 Route 120. Call number on door (or PD) to open room.
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