Breaking Down the Possibilities as Snow Heads for Chicago Area

A widespread snow system is forecast to dump potentially several inches of snow across the area

UPDATE: As the system continues to move closer, read the latest forecast update here

The Chicago area is set to see measurable snowfall this weekend - no matter which way you look at it. 

NBC 5 Storm Team meteorologists are tracking a developing system heading into the weekend that could bring several inches of snow across the area. 

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As the system develops off the West Coast Wednesday, details on exact timing of the storm and how much snow it will dump on the area continue to change. 

The first wave in the series of winter systems begins early Thursday morning as light snow develops. This system could bring minor accumulation north of Interstate 80 and a dusting to up to an inch of snow south of I-80. It is expected to taper off and end by late afternoon and early evening in northwest Indiana.

Friday looks to start off overcast and seasonably cold with highs in the low- to mid-30s before light snow develops late in the evening or during the overnight hours Saturday.

A widespread snow system is forecast to continue throughout the day Saturday, dumping potentially several inches of snow before coming to an end for some locations.

Timing on this system continues to change as of Wednesday. Some models predict the system could speed up as it arrives in the Chicago area, ending by the afternoon hours Saturday. This could decrease snow totals for many locations, though several inches would still be expected. 

If the system doesn't speed up and lingers over the metro area longer, snow totals could rise even higher. 

Lake effect showers could also develop and keep the snow going overnight for counties closer to the lake, which would have a major impact on snow totals. If the lake effect system develops on the Chicago side of Lake Michigan and shifts east into northwest Indiana, it could bring several inches of additional accumulation before coming to an end Sunday afternoon and evening. 

At the same time, the snowy system will usher in a bitter blast that could bring the coldest air of the season so far. 

Highs Saturday look to sit in the upper-20s before plunging Sunday to the mid- to upper-teens with wind chill readings near zero – where they will likely stay to start off the work week.

Check back with us as this forecast develops. 

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