Snow to the north, severe weather to the south
As Tuesday's storm system approaches the area, it's becoming more likely that Champaign-Urbana ends up between the major impacts. A winter storm is taking shape to our north, where heavy snow and strong winds could create blizzard conditions across portions of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and perhaps far northwest Illinois. We could see some very light flurries on the backside of the storm during the day on Wednesday, but accumulating snow will likely stay far from here. To our south, severe weather seems increasingly possible across southern Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, south into Mississippi and Tennessee.
Where does that leave us, here in Champaign-Urbana?
We'll still be unseasonably warm - but the warm front will likely have trouble surging north and remain south of our area. That means, instead of warming into the 60s like much of southern Illinois, we'll likely remain in the 40s for much of the day on Tuesday in CU. The dynamic nature of the storm system combined with this still unseasonably warm and moist environment could still bring a few thunderstorms embedded within the rain along the cold front in our area late in the day on Tuesday afternoon and evening, but these will likely remain below severe levels, barring some change as discussed in the paragraph below.
A northward shift in the track of the storm system between now and Tuesday could change things as far as our severe weather chances. As the graphics below show, warm and unstable air is not *too* far off to our south. Areas along Interstate 70 and 65 (including Effingham/Salem/Carbondale) could see a risk of large hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes Tuesday evening. I think this will continue to remain south of the Champaign-Urbana area - but at the same time, it isn't all that far off.
Storm Prediction Center Day 3 Outlook highlights severe weather chances south of the Champaign-Urbana area:
Forecast rain totals from rain/embedded storms across our area - heavy snow to the north - and potentially severe storms to our south.