Lake Effect Snow to Taper As Cold Moves In

Lake Effect Snow Warnings and Wind Chill Advisories were issued Thursday for parts of the Chicago area as a bitter blast looks to move in behind a burst of late-winter snow.

The warning is in effect in Cook County until 6 p.m. Thursday, with up to three inches of snow expected on top of the four to eight inches that fell overnight.

A warning was also issued for Lake County in Illinois until 3 p.m. and Lake County in Indiana until 9 p.m. Porter County in Indiana will be under a Lake Effect Snow Warning until 6 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Accumulations are expected to vary throughout the area.

The morning and afternoon snow canceled roughly 250 flights at O'Hare Airport and caused delays of up to 45 minutes. Another 60 flights were canceled at Midway Airport, which saw delays of up to 30 minutes.

Wind Chill Advisories were issued Thursday afternoon for Cook and Lake Counties and will be in effect from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday. Wind chill values in the Chicago area could reach as low as -25 degrees during this time.

Much of the Chicago area was under a Lake Effect Snow Advisory earlier Thursday morning as the main portion of the system moved toward the east.

The advisory, which stretched along the Lake Michigan shoreline from the far north suburbs and into Northwest Indiana, was in effect until 12 p.m.

More than 300 pieces of snow equipment were on the streets by noon Thursday to clear the roads, according to Commissioner Charles Williams of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Williams said the snow plow crews had moved to neighborhood streets by midday Thursday and were working to clear those roads.

"Everybody is working full on to make sure that both main streets and residential streets are plowed and passable," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

Clouds will gradually break inland Thursday, but the area will be left with breezy and bitter conditions. Temperatures that were mainly in the teens at 5 a.m. were about as warm as they'll be all day long. A wind chill factor from a breeze off the lake will push the air temperature into the single digits.

The record low high temperature in Chicago for Feb. 26 is 11 degrees, meaning Thursday's predicted high of 10 degrees could break that record.

The wind later in the day is expected to shift toward Northwest Indiana.

The main part of the weather system began dropping light snow late Wednesday evening. Combined with the lake effect snow, accumulation of up to four inches is possible by Friday morning.

Temperatures are expected to increase over the weekend as February gives way to March with a high near 20 degrees Saturday and in the low 30s Sunday, March 1.

Another snow system could move in on the first day of March, possibly bringing several inches of snow with it. An icy mix is expected to follow the snow early next week.

Below freezing temperatures are in the forecast to round out the month, putting Chicago right on track to break the record for the coldest February in Chicago history, which was set in 1875.

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