As winter begins, brace yourself for an incoming dangerous winter storm that will impact Missouri and Illinois with big winds, cold and some snow.

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I'm going to avoid the more sensational predictions I've seen from some weather outlets about how much snow could fall over the next couple days in both Missouri and Illinois. Yes, we'll see some snow, but the National Weather Service is much more concerned with wind chill and cold temperatures than precipitation at this point.

To make sure I don't exaggerate, here are the exact words from the National Weather Service as of this writing for what we can expect in the Hannibal, Missouri/Quincy, Illinois area:

Total snow accumulations between 2 and 4 inches. Winds gusting as high as 45 mph. For the Wind Chill Warning, dangerously cold wind chills expected. Wind chills as low as 35 below zero.

This does not mean that snow accumulations won't be higher. This is what the current models they trust are saying. What we can be certain of is very dangerous wind chills. Expect travel early Thursday morning into Thursday night to be hazardous at best.

My advice would be to ignore any forecasts not coming directly from the National Weather Service at this point. This storm is very dynamic and conditions will likely change for the better or worse as it moves through our area.

The good news is you'll almost certainly get that white Christmas you were hoping for.

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