A potent cold front moving across the region will deliver showers and isolated thunderstorms by late afternoon Thursday and much lower temperatures by sunrise Friday, the National Weather Service said.
Temperatures will drop "dramatically" behind the front, the weather service said, with degree readings expected in the mid-30s in the state's northwest and west by sunrise Friday. Friday morning could bring near-record-low temperatures, the weather service advised.
Snow is possible in the far northwest corner of the state late Thursday or early Friday, and again Friday night into Saturday morning, forecasters said. Brief bursts of heavy snow are also possible, but the snow won't accumulate because of higher ground temperatures, the weather service said.
Temperatures Saturday morning in the state's north and west are expected to fall close to freezing, so those with sensitive outdoor plants may need to take measures to protect them, forecasters said.
A freeze watch is in effect from late Thursday through Friday morning in Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties, the weather service said.