ST. LOUIS -- Portions of winter-weary Illinois braced Friday for another potent storm that forecasters warn could dump as much as 10 inches of snow on the state's midsection, adding to what in some areas have been record accumulations.
The storm should leave much of its mark -- 6 to 10 inches of snow -- on central Illinois between Saturday evening and Sunday night as the storm creeps into Indiana and eastward, meteorologist Chris Geelhart said from the National Weather Service's office in Lincoln, Ill.
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The snow is predicted for parts of Illinois that have already endured a winter for the record books. Geelhart said Bloomington, Ill., so far has gotten 46.7 inches this winter, eclipsing the 41.1 inches the city received during the same period in 1961-62. Springfield, the state's capital city, has tallied 42.3 inches, second only to the 52.1 inches that fell in 1977-78.
Lesser snowfall amounts -- just a couple of inches -- were expected in southern Illinois, where the larger concern would be a wintry mix of sleet and rain that could slicken roads with as much as a half-inch of ice after midnight Saturday, weather service meteorologist Chris Noles said from Paducah, Ky.
Around Chicago and much of the rest of northern Illinois, light snowfall Friday night and into early Saturday should intensify later that day, leaving behind 2 to 4 inches of accumulation, the weather service's Richard Castro said. Sunday's outlook for that region remains murky, depending on how far north the band that'll sock central Illinois gets, Castro said.
Chicago's winter already has been brutal, ranking third both in terms of snow and cold according to records dating to 1871. Gauges at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport have logged 68.3 inches of snow this winter, nearly double the typical 36.7 inches.
"It looks like we have a pretty good shot to crack 70 inches this year, and that's pretty amazing for here," Castro said. "It's just an incredible winter."