As of 8:15 this morning, light to moderate snow continues to fall across all of northern Illinois and northern Indiana. Visibilities range from from one-half mile to two miles.
North of Chicago in southeast Wisconsin, a strengthening east wind is allowing moisture from Lake Michigan to be drawn into the atmosphere creating several bands of heavy snow. As winds turn to the northeast later today, these heavier snow bands are expected to move into the Chicago area.
Heavy snow was reported just before 8AM at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Int’l Airport and in Waukesha, WI, confirming the trends we are observing on the radar.
Current radar trends combined with the latest computer model guidance arriving into the WGN Weather Center this morning confirms the going forecast of a general 8 to 12 inch snowfall for most of the Chicago area with the potential of up to 14 inches in a few locations.
The areas most likely to see the heavier 10 to 14 inch totals will be mainly east of the tri-state tollway (Interstate 294) in Cook and Lake Counties. More than a foot of snow is also possible over sections of northern Will county, as well as a large part of Lake and Porter Counties in northern Indiana.
The higher tallies are expected over these areas due to the fact the storm will begin to tap into an additional moisture source: Lake Michigan. The “lake enhanced snow” is expected to kick in by mid afternoon and continue into the late evening hours.
A well warranted Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for the entire Chicago area. In addition, the National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Watch for some southern suburbs. For updated snowfall totals and the latest on the Blizzard Watch, follow the link below to the WGN Severe Weather Blog
Thus far, the damage isn’t all that bad with only one to three inches of snow falling overnight. Chicago’s official reporting station, O’Hare Airport received exactly 1 inch of snow as of 6AM.
However, travel conditions will deteriorate as the day wears on. The 1″ to 3″ of snow will grow to 5″ to 8″ by 6PM tonight as a steady snow will fall for most of the day. In addition, winds will be on the increase complicating an already tough job faced by road crews trying to keep roads snow free.
Here are a few of the latest snowfall totals:
2.5″ Carbon Hill
2.0″ Chesterton, IN
1.8″ Des Plaines
1.7″ Orland Hills
1.5″ Oak Park
1.1″ Chicago (Wrigley Field)
1.0″ Chicago (O’Hare)
0.7″ Fox Lake
0.7″ Lake Villa
A well warranted Winter Storm Warning continues for the entire Chicago area until 9AM Wednesday morning. In Indiana, Lake and Porter Counties are under the Winter Storm Warning until Noon Wednesday.
On top of the Winter Storm Warning, a Blizzard Watch has been issued for some southern and southwest suburbs from 11PM tonight until 9AM Wednesday . Counties included in the Blizzard Watch are Will, Grundy, Kankakee, Lake(IN), Porter(IN), Newton(IN), Livingston, Iroquois, Ford and Benton(IN).
What is a Blizzard Watch?
A Blizzard Watch means there is the potential for an extended period of strong winds resulting in extremely limited visibilities of 1/4 of a mile or less due to falling and/or blowing snow. This can lead to whiteout conditions making travel extremely difficult if not impossible.
Legend for map below:
Winter Storm Warning: Red
Winter Weather Advisory: White
Blizzard Watch: Counties outlined in pink
A steady light snow began to fall over most of the Chicago area around 1AM this morning resulting in one to three inches of accumulation at 5AM.
The snow will continue all day long with 5 to 8 inches of new snow expected to be on the ground by 6PM tonight.
The evening commute promises to be much tougher sledding for motorists. Snowfall rates will increase this afternoon as the storm strengthens and lake moisture becomes involved.
Total storm accumulation by 9AM Wednesday will be in the 8 to 12 inch range with locally heavier amounts of up to 14 inches.
The long saturation process that has moistened the air over Chicago this evening is coming to completion and light snow is beginning to fall as the snowstorm begins. The snow should increase through the overnight hours with 2 to 4 inches of snow accumulating by Tuesday morning.
The storm will continue to intensify Tuesday and Tuesday night with heavy accumulations expected. At midnight radar showed snow covering all of northern and central Illinois with areal coverage and intensity increasing. Surface weather observations indicated snow falling at O’Hare, Aurora, Lansing,Kankakee, Morris, Romeoville, and Arlington Heights as well as throughout western and central Illinois.
Severe weather blog postings will resume shortly before daybreak and provide continuous coverage Tuesday and Tuesday evening as the major portion of the snowstorm impacts the Chicago area.