Chicago will steer clear of the snow but areas just to the east are going to have conditions unfavorable for holiday travel.
Parts of northwest Indiana saw between five and eight inches of snow as a pre-Thanksgiving storm passed through the area Wednesday afternoon.
The heaviest snow reports came from St. Joseph County, where snow at times fell at a pace of an inch per hour. By 2 p.m. Mishawaka recorded five inches, Lydick saw 6.5, Argos got 8 and Georgetown saw 6.4. Coloma in Berrien County, Mich., got a whopping 10 inches of snow.
Early projections indicated as much as seven inches of snow could fall in La Porte by early Thanksgiving morning. A Lake Effect Snow Warning was issued for cities such as La Porte, Benton Harbor and Michigan City through Wednesday.
Porter County Sheriff David Lain told NBC Chicago that extra squad cars and officers were out on the streets ready to respond to any emergencies.
Others, like Highland Park resident Andrea Sims, were gassing up and getting out of town early Tuesday night instead of waiting to see what developed.
"We're going now to avoid the traffic tomorrow. I'll take it slow, take our time and see what happens," Sims said.
NBC Chicago caught up with the Hooker family at the Lincoln Oasis, who were headed from their South Bend home to Arkansas.
"We weren't supposed to leave until tomorrow, but there's supposed to be snow so we left a day early," Rachel Hooker said.
Accumulations will be less as you move closer toward Chicago, with around a half-inch of snow predicted for areas such as Gary and Crown Point.
The snow could impact holiday travelers already worried about delays caused by an East Coast storm.
The Chicago Department of Aviation predicted this week that 1.9 million people will travel through the city's airports between Nov. 25 and Dec. 3. A slight increase was expected at O'Hare International Airport with an estimated total of 1.4 million passengers.
Flights were running on schedule on Wednesday morning, but NBC 5 found plenty of passengers headed toward the East Coast who decided to get ahead of the game.
"They should have done what my boss told me to do, let's leave a day early," Skokie resident Mark Kwasigroch said.
Still, Mother Nature may have offered a reprieve. Two storm systems that were expected to pound the northeast failed to merge.
Over the weekend Chicago saw the coldest temperatures since January.
The cold blast moved in Saturday night as temperatures plunged to a low of 13 degrees with blustery conditions. Wind chills dropped near zero degrees, reaching below zero in some area, marking the coldest air mass to hit Chicago so far this season.
The last time November saw temperatures this cold was in 1991.
|The top image was captured on the Chicago Skyway at about 8:45 a.m. on Wed., Nov. 27. The bottom image was captured an hour earlier and 40 miles to the east along an Indiana toll road. Photos by Lauren Petty.|