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Are you ready for winter?

Storm set to roll into county

Published: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 3:23 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 3:27 p.m. CDT

Bureau County is one of 12 counties in Illinois under a winter storm watch for this weekend.

The National Weather Service issued the watch statement on Thursday for an area which includes the Illinois counties of Johnson, Keokuk, Jo Daviess, Lee, Henry, Putnam, Henderson, Warren, Hancock, McDonough and Clark, as well as Bureau. Twenty-two Iowa counties are also included in the winter storm watch.

On Friday, WQAD meteorologist James Zahara said these next few days will be interesting as far as the weather goes. With temperatures just below freezing and leftover moisture still present, the concern for icy spots on untreated roadways were expected on Friday, primarily in Iowa and along the Illinois River. However, another more intense system will barrel its way across the area this weekend, he said.

The latest system, coming up from Texas, is expected to arrive this evening, Saturday, and continue through most of Sunday, Zahara said.

“So, you have the green light as to any holiday traveling through most of Saturday. The wintry combination of sleet and freezing rain will quickly change over to snow heading into the evening hours with areas a bit further east expecting the changeover well before sunrise Sunday,” Zahara said. “Bottom line, extremely hazardous traveling conditions will be a guarantee.”

As far as snowfall accumulation, the immediate Quad Cities area could see snow in the 8-inch range, with the eastern counties, including Bureau, expected to receive more in the 1- to 4-inch range, Zahara said.

“I don’t expect any more major wobbling with this track as we work our way through this weekend,” Zahara said. “You can certainly put it on the board that this Christmas will definitely be a white one.”

Also addressing the weather, Illinois State Police spokesperson Craig Graham said motorists need to be especially careful with the possibility of hazardous driving conditions. Motorists should remember to reduce their speed, increase following distance, turn on their headlights and not use cell phones while driving.

Also, everyone in any vehicle should use a seat belt, Graham said. However, determining if the trip is absolutely necessary is the first step in staying safe during winter driving conditions, he said.

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