The calendar says spring is here, but winter has not released its grasp on the region.
The National Weather Service in St. Louis expects rain Saturday night and then change over to snow early Sunday. As much as 5 inches of snow may fall in the southern reaches of St. Clair County and as much as 7 inches in the northern reaches of Madison County.
The snow could be heavy at times before it tapers off Sunday night.
A winter storm in this region in late March is unusual, said Julie Phillipson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis. She said the winter-like weather is expected to continue beyond the weekend with more snow forecast on Monday.
"We have had temperatures 20 to 25 degrees below normal in the last week or two weeks," Phillipson said. "We're looking for that to continue through the early part of next week."
Phillipson said the last time the St. Louis area experienced 6 inches or more of snow during the month was on March 4, 2008, when 10 inches fell.
This would be the third major storm to hit the Midwest this month. Up to a foot of snow is expected to fall this weekend in Kansas City, Mo., Indianapolis and Omaha, Neb. The storm system could generate thunderstorms and tornadoes in parts of the South this weekend before carrying more snow into the Northeast early next week.
In Fairview Heights, Public Works Department Director Chris Volkman said the city has snow plows and salt ready for the anticipated precipitation.
"Yes, we're well prepared," Volkman said. "We have had somewhat of a light season for snow removal-wise. It doesn't seem like it, but because of what we had in the last month and a half here as far as snowfall. We really haven't had a whole lot of that this winter, so we're in good shape with salt and the equipment is all ready to go. So we're in good shape."
Swansea Village Administrator Craig Coughlin said the advanced warning from the National Weather Service helps municipalities prepare.
"We're still prepared for it," Coughlin said. "We have our trucks ready to go and with the weather forecast, it allows us to have things in order so if the call comes Sunday or Saturday night, all of our guys have to do is go to the maintenance yard and the trucks will be ready to do go. The supervisors have the trucks lined up already for snow removal."
"I would say we're as prepared as we always are," said Maryville Public Works Director Patrick Presson. "Our trucks are up and ready, and we have enough salt if something does hit us."
Said April Calandro of the Collinsville Street Department, "we still have plenty of material."
Contact reporter Will Buss at email@example.com or 239-2526.