The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory from 3 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday, warning people that ice could cause slippery conditions on sidewalks, roads and bridges. Total wet snow accumulations of up to 1 inch are expected, with localized amounts up to 3 inches. Areas expecting 4 to 7 inches of precipitation include Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle and Orleans counties, according to the National Weather Service.
And snow was being reported in the sharply colder air behind it.
"The worst part is, at first rain changing to sleet which will be (in the afternoon), and then heavy snow for (the evening) through Saturday morning", he said.
New data shows a faster transition from ice to snow, which in turn lowers ice accumulation but increases snowfall potential.
The weather service said the combination of melting snow and periods of rain will make rivers and streams rise, breaking up the ice but possibly causing ice jams to form.
Because temperatures could drop rapidly, the liquid precipitation already on the ground could freeze, adding to the slick travel conditions, especially for the afternoon commute, according to the weather service.
They said accumulating ice before the start of snow could limit the ability of highway crews to improve driving conditions, particularly in the early hours of the event. Lows Thursday and Friday night will be well below zero.
Warm weather and heavy rain could cause flooding
Indiana, notably Indianapolis, will see less accumulation - probably only 1-2 inches of snow and sleet across the region.
Winds will also play a major factor in the storm system.
Snow was expected to develop later in the morning in the Topeka area.
It will warm up to a balmy 60 degrees at about 2 p.m. Thursday.
An inch or more of rain will fall today - enough to raise flooding fears - and then temperatures will plunge this afternoon from the high 50s to the low teens by morning. By 4pm, the average area temperature will be 4 degrees, but the wind chill could drop to -20 with northwest winds gusting to 31 miles per hour.
Low temperatures this morning as of 6 am CST across #NorthDakota. Turning colder through the day.
Friday night: A 20 percent chance of snow before midnight.
Highs are expected to remain in the 20s through most of next week.