Blizzard underway as potent system rapidly strengthens
•Winamac, Francesville, Rochester, Plymouth, Knox, Koontz Lake
•Wanatah, La Porte, Portage, Valparaiso, Gary, Crown Point, MerrillvilleA line, or lines, of rain and storms will likely develop near the Mississippi River and push eastward thru Illinois during the afternoon and evening. Eventually the chance of rain and storms will rise as the line pushes into Indiana and Michigan later into the evening. For folks west of U.S. 31, the best chance of strong storms will come before 2 a.m. Friday morning. For those east of U.S. 31, the severe risk is lower, but would exist around 2-3 a.m. Regardless of whether or not we see strong thunderstorms, there will be plenty of wind energy with this system as a whole. Thus, wind gusts from Wednesday night to early Saturday morning will be breezy to strong at times. There is no official wind alert in effect, but gusts could certainly reach 30-40 mph, if not 40-50 mph at times during the window of 10 p.m. Wednesday to 7 p.m. Friday. Also separate from any severe threat is the sheer amount of rainfall expected. There will be quite a bit of moisture available with the system as it pushes through Thursday night. The result will be the potential for heavy rainfall for a window of a few to several hours. Upwards of 1-2" of rain could fall depending on just how heavy the rain is and how long it falls at any give location. Could this lead to a few instances of flash flooding? Yes. Are we expecting widespread flooding and high water concerns? Not at this juncture. The good news with this powerful system is we will see a very warm day on Thursday. Once the warm front passes during the afternoon hours, temperatures will spike into the upper 60s in Michigan and 70s in Indiana. It is certainly possible that we surge into the middle or even upper 70s if we see any sunshine! Enjoy the warmth, though, because the weekend and early next week looks significantly cooler!