Winter Storm Warning Issued for Chicago Area on New Year's Day

Heavy snow and gusty winds are possible across the Chicago area Saturday

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A winter storm warning has been issued for the Chicago area on New Year's Day, as a storm system could bring between four and eight inches of snow and gusty winds to the region, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service issued the warning beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday for Cook, Lake, DuPage, DeKalb, Kane, La Salle, Kendall, Grundy, Will, Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Ogle and Lee counties through midnight. A winter storm watch was previously issued for the Chicago area from 6 a.m. Saturday until Sunday morning.

Forecasters say that steady, blowing snow will be the primary threat from the storm, causing dangerous travel conditions throughout the area.

Snow accumulations will vary widely depending on the track of the storm, but forecasters say that accumulations of greater than six inches are possible, along with northeasterly winds gusting in excess of 35 miles per hour.

Travel will be difficult at times during the storm, with blowing snow expected to dramatically reduce visibility in open areas.

Forecasters say that the steadiest snow rates will likely occur from 2 p.m. through 8 p.m. Saturday.

The storm track could potentially change in the days leading up to Saturday, but the National Weather Service estimates that the city of Chicago, along with areas immediately to the southwest of the city, has about a 70% chance of seeing at least four inches of snow from the storm.

Any change in the track of the storm will impact those predictions, with a move to the north potentially drawing in warmer air and causing mixed precipitation to fall in some areas, or a move to the south potentially causing higher snowfall accumulations in the southern suburbs.

Stay tuned to the NBC 5 Storm Team for all the latest information.

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