(WAND) – Significant winter weather is on the way for central Illinois starting today.

Measurable snowfall is expected to begin Friday evening and last through Saturday evening. A Winter Storm Warning begins at 6 p.m. for nearly all of central Illinois with a Winter Weather Advisory for McLean, Ford, and Iroquois counties begins this afternoon as well.

A Winter Storm Warning is issued when significant and hazardous winter weather is occurring or going to occur. This includes when five or more inches of snow falls within a 12-hour time frame, which will be likely for most of central Illinois over the next 36 hours.

A Winter Weather Advisory is issued when 2-4 inches of snow fall, which can cause a significant inconvenience but does not warrant a warning.

Friday’s forecast is calling for a dry first half, with scattered snow showers approaching Macoupin, Montgomery, and Fayette counties between 5 p.m. -8 p.m., Decatur and Springfield areas between 8 p.m. -10 p.m., and other areas east by 10 p.m. – midnight.

Snow showers will continue throughout the majority of Saturday evening before finally wrapping up in the predawn hours of Sunday morning. The heaviest snowfall will fall between the hours of 3 a.m. – 11 a.m., so travel during those hours is not recommended.

The heaviest snowfall is now expected to dump 6-8” along and south of I-72, which includes places like Decatur, Springfield, Taylorville, Jacksonville, Effingham, and Mattoon.  8”+ is possible further to our southwest near the St. Louis Metro area near Macoupin and Montgomery counties. North of I-72 will expect to see around 5-7” which includes Champaign, Danville, Lincoln, and Bloomington.

Stay with WAND’s team of meteorologists as we continue to provide you with the latest updates on this winter storm.