Near-Record Warmth to Turn Freezing as Temperatures Drop 30 Degrees in Hours

The entire area is under a Winter Weather Advisory Thursday afternoon and evening

The Chicago area is set to see near-record warmth Thursday, but not for long.

As quickly as they rose, temperatures are expected plummet nearly 30 degrees late Thursday afternoon as a powerful cold front sweeps across the area. 

Highs could reach close to 60 degrees as the afternoon begins with windy and damp conditions. 

The record high for Chicago on Jan. 11 is 61 degrees, and while some parts could reach 57 or 58 degrees, the temperatures will come close but likely won't break a record.

Periods of rain will move across the area before temperatures plunge in a matter of minutes, dropping below freezing and turning rain into an icy mix and snow by the late-afternoon and evening. 

The entire area is under a Winter Weather Advisory through midnight. 

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For McHenry, DeKalb and LaSalle counties, the advisory takes effect at 3 p.m. In Lake, Kane, DuPage, Cook, Kendall and Will counties, the advisory begins at 6 p.m. 

In Kankakee, along with Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties in northwest Indiana, the advisory begins at 9 p.m. and continues through 6 a.m. 

The weather alert warns that roadways and sidewalks could freeze and become slippery with ice accumulations of up to a tenth of an inch possible.

Friday will start dry for much of the Chicago area while the evening could bring lake effect snow for northeast Illinois, moving east Saturday morning to hit northwest Indiana by the afternoon.

Another dry start on Sunday could once again turn into snow in the evening, with temperatures in the teens and air cold enough for all precipitation to be snow - not a slushy or rainy mix - that will bring roughly two inches to the Chicago area through Monday morning.

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