LINCOLN — A storm system carrying a chance of a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain will move through the area starting on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Lincoln.
The type of precipitation will vary by location, said weather service meteorologist Ed Shimon, with areas north of Peoria more likely to see freezing rain. Cities in McLean, Sangamon and Champaign counties could see a mix of sleet and freezing rain.
"The Bloomington area should see precipitation start around sunrise on Saturday with a mixture of sleet and freezing rain," said Shimon.
The storm is expected to produce less than one-tenth of an inch, with the highest amount predicted for along the Bloomington-Peoria line.
Saturday morning travel could be hazardous if the light layer of ice falls as predicted. Later on Saturday, the precipitation will change to rain, with a light amount of snow possible later Saturday night, according to the forecast.
A high of 36 degrees is expected Saturday, with an overnight low of 27 heading into Sunday. A light snow of less than a half-inch is possible.
A cold front following the weekend will bring the reality of winter into full view with daytime highs expected to reach only 11 degrees by Wednesday. Low temperatures will dip into the single digits early next week, according to the weather service.
The forecast for the beginning of January stands in contrast to December.
Without even a trace of snow, last month tied the 2011 record for the least snowiest December on record. A typical December brings about 5.1 inches of snow, according to the weather service.
The Climate Prediction Center expects January's temperatures to be below normal (the mean high is about 24 degrees; the mean low is 15 degrees) and precipitation to be about average. The Twin Cities usually receives about 2.13 inches of precipitation in January.
So far, the Climate Prediction Center's winter expectations have been closer to right than The Old Farmer's Almanac. In August, the prediction center expected a "normal" winter but below-average precipitation from December through February.
At the same time, The Old Farmer's Almanac predicted winter would be colder than normal and bring above-normal snowfall.