chicago snowfall

Timeline: What to Expect and When With 2 Winter Storms Set to Hit Chicago Area

Storm Team 5 meteorologists broke down what to expect and when, depending on your location

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The Chicago area is bracing for multiple winter storms to bring measurable snow to some locations, but as has been the case with previous winter systems in the area, where you live will likely change what you'll see and when.

The forecasts remain fluid as the system's path and changing temperatures could have a dramatic impact on snow totals.

Storm Team 5 meteorologists broke down what to expect and when, depending on your location.

Tuesday Afternoon

Precipitation begins, likely as rain in Chicago as temperatures may climb into the low 40s. This will mark the start of the first winter system.

Tuesday Evening

Rain changes to snow shortly after sunset as temperatures begin to drop. Snow develops over entire Chicago area, but heaviest to the south and lightest to north.

A winter storm warning takes effect in Kankakee County in Illinois, as well as Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties in northwest Indiana at 10 p.m. Tuesday. The warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday.

A separate warning takes effect at midnight for LaPorte County and goes until 6 p.m. Thursday.

A winter storm watch has also been issued for a number of Chicago-area counties beginning Tuesday evening.

The watch includes Grundy, LaSalle, Will and central and southern Cook counties in Illinois.

Wednesday Morning

Snowy and potentially hazardous driving conditions are expected during the morning commute on any highway south of Chicago, especially in areas like Kankakee County and parts of northwest Indiana.

Wednesday Afternoon

Snow tapers to light snow or flurries, but may not entirely end as the first wave moves away from us.

Wednesday Evening

Snow intensifies again, especially south of Chicago, in northwest Indiana and in downstate Illinois. It is not a guarantee that snow will re-establish north of Chicago, as that area will be farthest from the storm.

Thursday Morning

Snow is likely for the morning commute, and snow intensity will increase again the farther south you are.

Thursday Afternoon

Steady to heavy snow is expected to continue in far southern counties and northwest Indiana, but much lighter snow or no snow at all is expected north of Chicago. Winter storm watches are expected to come to an end Thursday afternoon.

Thursday Evening

The second storm moves through and any remaining snow will likely end.

How Much Snow is Expected?

NBC 5 Storm Team meteorologists say snow totals will vary dramatically across the area.

In the first storm, anywhere from 4 to 8 inches is possible for the metro area, while up to 14 inches could be seen in far southern suburbs and parts of northwest Indiana.

In northern suburbs, 1 to 3 inches is possible.

If the second storm follows a similar path to the first storm, which is likely, far southern counties like Kankakee County in Illinois and Newton and counties Jasper in northwest Indiana may receive anywhere from 16 to 24 inches total by Thursday night, though those totals don't account for compaction, which could make on-the-ground totals appear less.

Meanwhile, far northern counties like Kenosha and McHenry will likely receive 4 inches or less.

The winter storm warning for multiple counties warns of 6-12 inches possible through Wednesday, with an additional 3-6 inches expected through Thursday.

The winter storm watch warns of totals in excess of 6 inches for most counties under the alert. For LaSalle County, total snow accumulations between 5 and 11 inches are possible, according to the watch.

What to Expect

The exact path of the storms and how much snow they will bring to parts of the Chicago area remain fluid.

The NBC 5 Storm Team will continue to monitor the weather systems as they develop, and the latest information can always be found on the NBC Chicago app.

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