Chicago Forecast

Snowstorm Timeline: How Much Snow Will Your Area See and When?

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Beginning Thursday, the Chicago area will see its third winter storm in less than two weeks followed by a dangerous cold spell that will send temperatures plummeting.

But how much snow you'll see and when will depend largely on where you live and how quickly precipitation changes to snow.

Here's a breakdown of what's in store:

Thursday Morning: Winter Weather Advisory Begins

A winter weather advisory has been issued for much of the Chicago area beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday.

The advisory continues through noon Friday for McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Kane, Kankakee, DuPage, Cook, LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy and Will counties in Illinois, as well as Lake, Newton, Jasper and Porter counties in Indiana.

The system is expected to start as a light icy mix by the late morning hours for far western counties, transitioning to a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow across the Chicago area.

Thursday Afternoon: Icy Mix Transitions to Snow

The moisture will likely become all snow north of Interstate 80 in the early afternoon. The mix of rain and snow south and in northwest Indiana will become all snow by late afternoon.

The advisory warns snow could become heavy Thursday afternoon and early evening, bringing total accumulations between 2 and 5 inches along with wind gusts of up to 40 mph.

The combination of strong winds and snow could create hazardous travel for afternoon and evening commute.

"Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility," the advisory warns. "The hazardous conditions will likely impact the Thursday afternoon and evening commute. Pockets of blowing snow could continue to impact the Friday morning commute."

Thursday Evening: Snow Tapers, Leaving Behind Up to 5 Inches for Some

Snow tapers quickly to flurries by the late evening hours, leaving behind some accumulation in parts of the area.

Between 2 to 4 inches is possible for central locations and 4 to 5 inches could be left in far northwest counties. Between 1 and 2 inches is expected for southern counties and in northwest Indiana.

Under the weather advisory, McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Kane, DuPage and northern and central Cook counties are all expected to see between 2 and 5 inches of accumulation.

Kankakee County in Illinois and Newton and Jasper Counties in northwest Indiana are projected to see between 3 and 5 inches, with higher amounts possible.

La Salle, Kendall, Grundy, southern Cook and Will counties in Illinois, as well as Lake and Porter counties in Indiana are forecast to see between 2 and 4 inches of accumulation, with isolated higher totals.

Friday Morning: Flurries Possible as Cold Air Moves In

As the snow ends, however, it ushers in a brutal, bitter blast.

Some flurries are possible early Friday but forecasts indicate that the day will otherwise be mostly to partly cloudy, blustery and cold with highs in the low to mid teens and wind chill readings below zero.

Saturday and Sunday: Arctic Blast Brings Coldest Air of the Season So Far

Dangerously cold conditions are set to arrive for the weekend, marking the coldest air of the season so far.

Highs Saturday are set to only reach between 8 and 12 degrees with wind chill readings well below zero.

Some light snow is possible later in the evening, mainly south of I-80.

Overnight lows are expected to drop into the single digits and below zero, with wind chill readings between -10 and -20 degrees.

Sunday will be equally as cold, with highs in the single digits and wind chills well below zero.

Some light snow will again be possible in far southern counties in the evening or at night.

Overnight lows range from 0 to 5 degrees below zero with wind chills between -20 and -30 degrees.

The bitter blast is set to continue at least through the first part of the work week.

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