After going most of December without any snow, the Chicago area is likely going to see a significant snowfall over the weekend, ringing in the new year with a winter storm watch throughout the region.
As the storm develops and approaches the region, forecast models are dialing in which areas could be hit the hardest, with six or more inches of snow possible in some locations, according to the National Weather Service.
According to NBC 5 Storm Team Meteorologist Paul Deanno, a group of counties that includes Kenosha County in Wisconsin, as well as McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Kane, LaSalle and Kendall counties in Illinois, has a 90% probability of seeing at least four inches of snow over the weekend.
The city of Chicago itself, along with the rest of Cook County, DuPage County and Will County, has an 80% chance of seeing four or more inches of snow, according to the NBC 5 Storm Team.
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Areas to the south of the area, including Grundy and Kankakee counties in Illinois, have a 50% chance of seeing a snowfall of four or more inches. Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties in Indiana are also in that range, according to forecast models.
The National Weather Service has issued guidance that anticipates the heaviest snows occurring between 12 and 6 p.m. in north-central Illinois, with areas around the city of Chicago potentially seeing serious travel issues caused by blowing snow.
A winter storm watch is in effect for McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Kane, DuPage, Cook, LaSalle, Kendall Grundy and Will counties beginning Saturday morning and running through midnight Sunday.
In addition to the heavy snow, the area will also likely see strong northeasterly winds, occasionally gusting in excess of 35 miles per hour, according to the NWS.
The blowing snow could cause drifting issues, and could cause hazardous travel conditions, especially in open areas.