Weather service declares winter storm warnings as rare late snowstorm aims for Chicago area

Chicago Tribune staff, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Weather News

CHICAGO -- The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for much of northern Illinois, including the Chicago area, cautioning that a storm this weekend could dump 4 to 8 inches of heavy, wet snow Saturday afternoon into early Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Wind gusts of up to 40 mph from the north could reduce visibility and help make travel difficult, the weather service said in an advisory.

The weather service early Saturday shifted its forecast for the "potent storm system" south, predicting 4 to 6 inches for areas including O'Hare and Midway airports, with 6 to 8 inches for areas from the Northwest Side up to the Wisconsin border.

Much of the Chicago area north of Interstate 88 will be hit by "Rain transitioning to a heavy, very wet snow early in the afternoon and continuing into this evening," the weather service said in a warning early Saturday. "Total snow accumulations of 3 to 8 inches will be possible by this evening, with the highest amounts across northern portions of Kane, DuPage, and Cook counties."

The warnings for the Chicago area were in effect until 1 a.m. Sunday. Snowfall rates were expected to be heaviest in the Chicago area between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

"Travel could be very difficult in heavy snowfall and gusty winds with greatly reduced visibilities," the weather service said. "Minor tree damage will also be possible to due to the heavy snow and wind."

The White Sox postponed a game with the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday night ahead of the arrival of bad weather.

Forecasters said they still were tracking the exact path of the storm Saturday morning, but the possibility of snow was most likely north of Interstate 88 -- and areas most likely to be hit by more snow were expected to be on the Northwest Side, in northern Cook County suburbs and in Lake and McHenry counties.

Downtown and along the north lakefront, 2 to 3 inches of accumulation was predicted. The storm should end by midnight, the weather service said.

Mid-afternoon Friday, the weather service declared a winter storm warning for counties in southern Wisconsin, where up to 8 inches of snow are now possible.


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