Chicago Area Sees Snowfall, Prepares For More This Weekend

A Winter Weather Advisory took effect for the Chicago area Friday as another storm system moves in, with the potential to bring several inches of snow this weekend.

The National Weather Service advisory began at noon and will continue until 6 a.m. Sunday, warning of snow, sleet and blowing snow at times. At 6 a.m. Sunday a Wind Chill Advisory will be in effect until 10 a.m. Monday.

After bitter cold conditions and dangerous subzero wind chills forced more than 100 Chicago area schools Thursday, temperatures began to slowly warm overnight.

Much of the snowfall Friday night hit the northern Chicago area, like Waukegan in Lake County, which saw around 2 inches of snow. Parts of McHenry County saw 2.1 inches and parts of Cook County saw around 1 inch.

In Waukegan Friday evening, crews were prepared to handle the snow.

“What we've been seeing is, it's gonna snow from now until maybe 4-5 a.m., then break, then pick up again into Sunday,” Waukegan Public Works Director Tom Hagerty told NBC 5.

Hagerty added that there were 32 plows on the streets at the time. He said that number should increase to 50 on Saturday.

In Chicago, a fleet of 280 trucks armed with plows and salt patrolled the main streets first—then the arterials. The Illinois Department of Transportation said highways would be getting the same attention as city streets.

“Our plow drivers have a tough job, they're trying to navigate getting snow off the road and at the same time dealing with traffic,” said IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “It can be dangerous for them, and dangerous for the traveling public as well.”

Projected snowfall totals are expected to change, but Friday models showed areas north of Chicago could see 8 to 10 inches of snow by the time the system moves out.

In and around the city, totals are expected to be between 4 and 8 inches, though that number could change significantly depending on if the snow begins to mix with freezing rain or sleet. The Winter Weather Advisory anticipates between 3 and 5 inches across the area.

Areas south of Interstate 80 will likely see lower accumulations, with anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of snow expected.

The heaviest snow is forecast to fall late Friday and into Saturday morning. But the snow may transition to or mix with freezing rain, sleet and possibly even rain for a time which would impact storm totals dramatically before ending Saturday night or early Sunday. Any icy combination could also make travel even more dangerous. 

Brutally cold temperatures return Sunday with highs in the single digits once again and wind chill values as low as -15. 

Highs are set to gradually warm throughout next week, however. 

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