DES MOINES, Iowa — Basketball fans were welcomed to central Iowa with sunny skies and mild air Wednesday, but it will be wetter and cooler Thursday as the first games are played.

The first two sessions of March Madness in Des Moines look pretty wet. Rain is expected to last through the afternoon, with the change to snow happening by the early evening hours. Snow should wrap up by 8PM, but temperatures drop through the evening as northwest winds pick up.

Here’s the full timing on the precipitation: rain pushes in Thursday morning, increasing in coverage and intensity through the morning and afternoon hours. Eventually, rain will change over to snow in the 4-6PM timeframe. Snow will only last for a couple of hours before conditions clear out overnight and into Friday morning.

As the front passes, not only will rain turn to snow, winds pick up. Gusts could reach 40-50 mph Thursday evening, overnight, and into early Friday morning.

For that reason, a Wind Advisory has been issued for most of central Iowa from 4PM Thursday to 4AM Friday.

Additionally, a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Kossuth, Pocahontas, Humboldt, and Sac counties. These locations are most likely to see wintry effects from this system. About 1-3″ of snow is possible, with some locally higher amounts. Visibility will also be greatly reduced with the combination of falling snow and high winds.

For those in Birmingham for the Iowa game, the weather looks much better than here at home. Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 60s with mostly sunny skies.

Cold air settles in for the next couple of days in central Iowa. In fact, temperatures in the teens combined with winds gusting over 30 mph could take wind chills to the single digits Friday and near to below zero Saturday morning.

Monday marks the first day of spring, and spring weather looks to return just in time next week.