Chicago emergency officials urged residents to prepare for the winter snowstorm expected to head into the area within hours Saturday.
The Office of Emergency Management and Communications and the Department of Streets and Sanitation held a press conference Saturday at 11:30 a.m. to give warning of the winter storm expected.
The OEMC warned of a winter storm warning to take place across the Chicago area Saturday into Sunday, with heavy periods of snowfall. Officials said people should check in with family members and encouraged residents to call 311 to request a wellness check.
A Lakeshore Flood Advisory is also in effect, the OEMC announced, as of 9 a.m. Saturday and will remain active until Monday at 3 p.m. Emergency officials said there could be "minor flooding" along the Lake Shore Drive bike path.
On Friday, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency urged people in a release to take time before the major anticipated snowfall to prepare families, homes and vehicles for a storm.
“This weekend, if weather impacts your area, please take a moment to check on your neighbors,” IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said. “46% of individuals expect to rely a great deal on people in their neighborhood for assistance within the first 72 hours after a disaster. Send a text or make a call to ensure they have everything they need to survive this winter storm.”
The IEMA recommended that residents do the following to prepare:
- Understand the various weather alerts
- Build a home emergency kit with items such as food, water, medications, a weather radio, flashlight and spare batteries
- If travel is necessary, stock a vehicle with emergency items such as a first aid kit, phone charger, batteries, extra clothes, jumper cables, kitty litter or sand, a flashlight and a snow scraper
- Charge cell phones before the storm
- Create and discuss an emergency plan with the family
- Take steps to prevent frozen water pipes
The Chicago area will be under a winter storm warning beginning Saturday afternoon as the second major snowstorm of the week threatens to dump up to 9 inches of snow, possibly even more, on some parts of the area.
A potentially significant storm has set its sights on northern Illinois, likely bringing several inches of snow just days after much of the area saw its biggest snowfall of the season so far.
The warning begins at 3 p.m. Saturday and continues through 6 p.m. Sunday, though the system could begin with a short period of freezing rain before transitioning to snow. The following counties are included in the warning: Boone, McHenry, Lake (IL), De Kalb, Kane, DuPage, Kendall, Grundy, Kankakee, Cook, Will, Lake (IN) and Porter.
The alert warns of "heavy wet snow" and wind gusts of up to 30 or 35 mph. Accumulations of 5 to 9 inches or higher are possible.
According to NBC 5 meteorologists, areas closer to Lake Michigan could see an additional 1 to 2 inches, ultimately accumulating to 10 to 11 inches, due to lake enhanced snow.
A winter storm watch remains in effect for Newton and Jasper counties in northwest Indiana from Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning, warning of 3 to 7 inches of snow possible, with some locations seeing higher totals.
According to the NBC 5 Storm Team, snow will develop later in the afternoon. It may start as an icy mix initially then become steady heavy snow in the evening.
For far west and southwest locations, just outside of the Chicago metro area, precipitation looks to start between 2 and 4 p.m.
As the storm inches into the Chicago area, west and southwest counties are expected to see the system move in between 3 and 5 p.m.
Areas north and northwest of Chicago and the city itself, along with parts of northwest Indiana, will likely see things begin anytime between 4 and 7 p.m.
A period of moderate to heavy snow is expected across the area Saturday night. This is likely when the snow will be its most intense, before things begin to taper off in intensity overnight.