ST. LOUIS – Lots of people are out shopping and taking this last weekend before Christmas to wrap up their holiday plans. But there is a winter storm lurking on the horizon that folks need to keep an eye on, because it will have a significant effect on our region.

If you plan to travel Thursday and after, it could have a substantial impact on those plans.

Courtesy: Chris Higgins, FOX 2

What We Know For Sure

Extreme cold and wind (or wind chills) are coming to the entire Midwest later this week and for the holiday weekend. For the bi-state area, that front is shaping up to be the coldest in more than 20 years for December, and it may be the coldest since 1989!

What will make it even more dangerous will be the winds, driving wind chills to dangerous levels starting Thursday evening and lasting through the weekend. We are also all but certain about snow! Snow is likely on Thursday into that evening.

What Is Uncertain

The snowfall amounts. Snowfall amounts will depend on the exact track and rate of intensification of this storm and where it intensifies. What makes this more complicated is that the development will be pretty much right over the bi-state area. Earlier intensification means more snow. Later intensification results in less snow, but more than enough to disrupt travel.

The Bottom Line

A high-impact winter event is likely late this week. Extreme cold and snow are likely. The amount of snowfall is not. No matter how the details shake out, your plans will likely be affected.