Chicago’s weather forecast calls for several inches of snow; Winter storm warning for Illinois today, blizzard warning for northwest IndianaThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
CHICAGO (WLS) — A winter snowstorm is moving into the Chicago area Thursday with several inches of snow forecast, along with strong winds and dangerously cold winds.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for the entire Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.
The advisory is in effect from 9 a.m. Thursday through 6 a.m. Saturday for Dekalb, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, Livingston and McHenry counties. For the rest of the Chicago area, the advisory is in effect from noon Thursday until 6 a.m. Saturday, with the advisory beginning at 3 p.m. for areas in northwest Indiana.
ABC7 Chicago meteorologist Tracy Butler said the storm could start moving toward the western suburbs by 9 a.m., with the city seeing snow by noon and northwest Indiana by 3 p.m.
Butler said three to six inches of snow is expected from the storm, with higher amounts possible in northwest Indiana. Snow could fall at a rate of one inch per hour on Thursday.
One of the main dangers will be drifting snow from strong winds. Butler said wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour are possible.
Porter County, Indiana has a Blizzard Warning in effect from 3:00 PM Thursday until 6:00 AM Saturday. Gov. Eric Holcomb activated nearly 150 members of the National Guard to help stranded drivers, while officials in Indiana and Illinois urged people to stay off the roads.
Butler said temperatures could drop sharply Thursday, with wind chills well below freezing by early Friday morning.
Meanwhile, Cook County says it’s prepared for the snow.
Sixty snow plows are on hand to salt and clear the roads. Cook County also has about 65 guides and has 16,000 tons of salt available.
Metra will run a more limited schedule due to the weather, but will have extra staff to deal with the elements.
The CTA said it would run trains and buses as usual Thursday and Friday, but warned there could be delays due to the weather. Anyone who may be waiting outside for a bus is advised to gather.
ComEd is preparing for a power outage
ComEd said it is positioning people and equipment to be able to respond quickly to potential power outages.
“We are positioning our people and equipment to respond quickly and safely to any disruptions resulting from this snowstorm,” said Terrence Donnelly, ComEd’s president and chief operating officer. “We realize that any disruption is an inconvenience to our customers, especially during the holidays. Avoiding power outages and quickly restoring service is critical. We have strengthened our system over the years to reduce the impact that a storm like this can have on our customers. “
They said they will have more than 1,800 utility workers on the system, including 350 line workers from around the country, to respond to potential outages.
ComEd customers can text 26633 (COMED) to report an outage and receive restoration information, and follow ComEd on Twitter or Facebook. Customers can also call 1-800 EDISON1 (1-800-334-7661) or report outages through the website at ComEd.com/report or use the ComEd app.
ComEd warns people to never approach a downed power line and to not approach ComEd crews to ask about recovery times, as they may be working on live electrical equipment.
Hundreds of canceled flights:
Hundreds of flights have been cancelled at O’Hare and Midway airports on Thursday..
As of 4:30 a.m., 388 flights were canceled at O’Hare Airport, with 156 flights canceled at Midway Airport
Blizzards are expected from the Plains and Midwest to the East Coast, with strong winds and freezing temperatures.
Delays and cancellations only add to the chaos at airports packed with holidaymakers.
Roads will also be busy as many families travel by car for the holidays.
The storm forced the closure of schools and attractions
Christkindlmarket will close early due to the storm. Its downtown Chicago and Aurora locations will reduce hours and close at 4 p.m. Thursday, while the Wrigleyville Market will be closed all day Thursday. All three markets will be closed on Friday.
Lincoln Park Zoo will be closed Friday and the Zoo Lights will be canceled due to forecast high winds and cold temperatures. Anyone with tickets to ZooLights on December 23 should check their emails for more information.
The Adler Planetarium announced it will close Friday and Saturday in anticipation of the storm. It was scheduled to be closed on Sunday.
Chicago Public Schools plan to open Thursday, but extracurricular activities have been canceled. Friday was already a scheduled day off.
What are the criteria for a blizzard?
For a blizzard warning to be issued, the following conditions must prevail for three hours or more:
– The storm must have sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or more
– Falling and/or blowing snow reduces visibility to less than a quarter mile
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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