Chicago's evening storm could produce the largest snowfall of the season with an estimated five to eight inches by Friday morning.
So far this winter, Chicago shoveled only about 16 inches of snow, making the 2011-2012 season the fifth least snowy in local history. It's a big switch from little more than a year ago when about 23 inches fell Feb. 2 during the city's third biggest blizzard ever.
Thursday night's storm could change that.
A Winter Storm Watch goes into effect as rain gradually turns to snow around 8 p.m. From then on, snow could fall an inch or more per hour for a few hours overnight, according to the National Weather Service.
If that happens, the metro area could see five to nine inches by the end of the storm, and areas north of the city could get more, according to morning models. While Thursday's ride home could be plagued by rain, Friday's morning commute likely will be met by snow.
It's a shock to the system during this unseasonably warm winter. Only about an inch-and-a-half of snow fell so far this month. The biggest storms of the year dropped 4.7 inches Jan. 12 and 5.4 inches on Jan. 20.
Considering Chicago saw one of the latest snowfalls this winter, it could end with a biggie.