A strong winter storm is headed this direction that may leave up to seven inches of a wintery mix of snow and ice.

According to the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, most of the area will be under a Winter Storm Watch on Wednesday and Thursday. The storm is expected to bring a wide mixture of precipitation. The potential exists for significant snow and ice accumulations, with the heaviest snow expected north of Highway 36, according to the NWS. The highest ice accumulations are expected south of Highway 50.

The effected counties could possibly include Livingston, Linn, Macon, Carroll, Chariton, Randolph, Saline, Pettis, Cooper, and Howard.

A mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain will occur between these areas.

The watch will be in effect from late Wednesday night through Thursday afternoon. The storm is expected to begin late into Wednesday, with chances for flurries and gusting winds up to 30 miles per hour. The heaviest precipitation is expected, however, Thursday morning through early afternoon. The NWS is forecasting snow and sleet before 3 p.m., on Thursday, then snow likely again between 3 and 5 p.m. Freezing drizzle is expected after 5 p.m., with winds gusting again up to 30 miles per hour. New snow accumulation is projected at between three and seven inches.

Snow and freezing drizzle are forecasted again for Thursday evening, mainly before 3 a.m.

The National Weather Service has stated that the potential exists for significant snow and ice accumulations. They also stated that the heavy snow, sleet, and ice will have a significant impact on travel, and that the ice may cause damage to trees and possibly power lines.

Chillicothe Street Superintendent Barry Arthur stated that his department had been going through each truck to make sure they were all operational for the possible storm. A mechanic was working today (Tuesday) to be sure all of the city equipment was up and running.

"I'm not getting too wired up about it," said Arthur, who commented that two days gives the weather time to change. "I'll get a little more serious about it tomorrow," he said, of the pending winter storm.

February 24, 2011 was the last reported date that Chillicothe received more than three inches of snow in one day's time.