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Chicago Weather: The forecast calls for snow this week, with more than a foot of snow Thursday, Friday; Winter Storm Watch Issued

Chicago Weather: The forecast calls for snow this week, with more than a foot of snow Thursday, Friday; Winter Storm Watch Issued

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CHICAGO (WLS) — The weather forecast for Chicago this week shows a significant winter storm that has the potential to dump more than a foot of snow before Christmas.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch for the entire Chicago area and Northwest Indiana from 6:00 p.m. Thursday to 6:00 a.m. Saturday.

ABC7 Meteorologist Tracy Butler says light snow could begin Thursday afternoon, with the heaviest snow coming Thursday night into Friday.

Strong winds and cold temperatures will also lead to blizzard-like conditions Thursday night into Friday morning.

Butler said the storm could bring the potential of 6 to 12 inches of snow by the weekend, with larger amounts possible further east from lake-effect snow.

WATCH | Latest 7-day weather forecast for Chicago

Strong winds of more than 55 mph are expected as the heaviest snow falls, ABC7 Meteorologist Larry Mowry said, adding that he expects the winter storm watch to be upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning or Blizzard Warning later in the week.

“The concern is going to be not just the falling snow, but the snowfall that will reduce visibility,” Mowry said. “And because the winds are going to be so strong, there is a threat of power outages from Thursday night into the day on Friday.”

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Mowry said the heavy snow and high winds will combine to create major travel impacts, with “extremely difficult to impossible travel from Thursday night into the day on Friday.”

Temps will also plummet from the teens on Friday to single digits over the weekend, with strong winds creating dangerously cold conditions. Friday will start with wind chills in the -20s and -30s and stay well below freezing during the day, Mowry said.

The forecast for this week is forced many tourists to scramble to change their plans. Most airlines now have weather waivers in place, meaning you can change your flights for free if you have flexible travel plans.

Stay tuned to ABC7 Eyewitness News and ABC7Chicago.com for the latest forecast and snowfall amounts as the winter storm approaches.

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