chicago snowfall

‘Significant Winter Travel Impacts': Confidence in Chance for New Year's Snowstorm Grows

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

If you're planning to travel in the Chicago area this New Year's Day you might want to reconsider.

Forecasters say the chance for a potential winter storm that could bring accumulating snow, ice and a wintry mix to the Chicago area is heightening.

According to the National Weather Service, "confidence continues to grow in significant winter travel impacts" New Year's Day afternoon and evening, with much of the Chicago area under a "high" probability for several inches of accumulation.

NWS reported parts of the Chicago area could see accumulations of up to 6 inches of snow, but exactly how much snow will fall and where remains unclear.

Of course, there is still plenty up in the air with the system, as the storm that would bring it to the area is still located off the coast of California. The NWS noted that freezing rain and sleet could mix in with the snow and NBC 5 Storm Team meteorologists say a wintry mix is likely, at least at the start. That could have an impact on any snow totals.

According to the NBC 5 Storm Team, any deviation to the path of the weather system could also significantly impact how much snow, or even mixed precipitation, the area could see.

If the storm track moves to the south, then the system would likely deal only a “glancing blow” to the region, and forecasted snowfall totals would likely be revised downward.

If the storm moves to the north, then it could possibly pull in warmer air, which would then turn a primarily snow-fueled system into one marked by a mix of rain and snow.

The current track of the storm will bring it through the Midwest, with the center of the storm passing just to the south of Chicago, meaning that it would produce primarily snow in the area.

Forecasters are urging the public to keep an eye on the latest information, as the projected path of the storm will be more dialed in as it arrives on the West Coast and begins its trek toward the Midwest.

“This forecasted winter storm is slated to arrive in the Midwest at a time when holiday travel is at a peak.  It is with that in mind that we remind all travelers to monitor road conditions and only travel during a winter storm if it is absolutely necessary,” Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said in a statement.

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