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Blizzard conditions possible as winter storm watch begins Thursday

National Weather Service forecast
National Weather Service
Dangerously cold wind chills of -25 to -35 degrees are expected Thursday night into Friday morning. This was according to a National Weather Service forecast on Tuesday afternoon.

Blizzard conditions are possible across central Illinois on Thursday and Friday, threatening to snarl holiday travel plans.

A winter storm watch goes into effect Thursday morning for Bloomington-Normal and the rest of central Illinois, according to the National Weather Service. Snowfall of between 3 and 5 inches is expected, with wind gusts as high as 55 miles per hour. Dangerously cold wind chills are also expected — as low as 30 below in Bloomington-Normal.

National Weather Service meteorologist John Bumgardner said the forecast Tuesday morning was a "little bit less ominous" than Monday's predictions, but the storm may lead to dangerous road conditions when coupled with those high wind gusts.

"There's going to be a period where it's pretty treacherous. Thursday evening could be pretty bad too, because that's when the heaviest snow will fall. But the blowing and drifting Thursday night and Friday is going to be very bad. And we don't want that to catch anybody by surprise," he said.

Bumgardner says temperatures are also expected to drop by 30 to 40 degrees over a six-hour period late Thursday.

Bitterly cold wind chills are also expected Saturday (Christmas Eve) and Sunday (Christmas Day) mornings.

WCBU's Tim Shelley contributed to this report.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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