Despite sunshine in parts of the Chicago area this afternoon, a major snowstorm is approaching and should begin in western areas by evening and overspread the city tonight. The snow will be one of long duration, not ending until Wednesday morning once it begins this evening. It appears that this evening’s rush hour in the city will not begreatly impacted by the snow, but it will be a different story for both the Tuesday morning and evening commutes as well as the one Wednesday morning. Snowfall totals are expected to be in the 8-14 inch range with the highest totals in areas near Lake Michigan, where lake enhanced snowfall will add several inches to the storm totals. Light snow is already falling in western and central Illinois as well as in Iowa and will slowly advance toward the Chicago area as the afternoon wears on. At 1 pm light snow was being reported at Moline, Peoria, Galesburg, Macomb and as close as the La Salle-Peru area.
A large portion of the Chicago area will be under a Winter Storm Warning starting tonight. For the very latest on the developing storm and a complete breakdown of which Chicago area communities are included in the warning, follow the link below to the WGN Severe Weather Blog.
We already are more than 10″ above average on snowfall to date this winter. We only need about six more to bring our total to 38″. That would match the average amount of snow we get in an entire winter. That shouldn’t be hard to do with the prolonged, steady snow that will begin late tonight and last through Tuesday night. More than two dozen states have advisories, watches or warnings. Washington DC is bracing for more snow but not as much as the most recent storm.
This could end up being one of the biggest snow storms of the year as we are expecting anywhere from 6 inches to a foot of new snow.
In addition to the updates on CLTV and WGN Radio, you can follow the storm through my facebook updates at
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While some western and northern suburbs have already experienced a little light snow and flurry activity this morning, the first wave of accumulating snow is not expected to arrive until this evening. Some far western suburbs may see the first meaningful snow as early 4PM.
The heaviest snow is predicted to occur on Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday evening, when snowfall rates will be enhanced by moisture drawn into the system from Lake Michigan on strong northeast winds. Communities in northeast Illinois (including the city of Chicago) within 30 miles of Lake Michigan are in line to see the majority of the “lake enhanced snow”.
The Winter Storm Watch issued on Sunday has been upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning for most, but not all of the Chicago area. This warning does not go into effect until 9PM tonight, although some snow is possible before that.
Here is a complete breakdown of the region’s warnings, watches and advisories:
For Cook (including the City of Chicago), Kane, McHenry, Du Page, Lake(IL) and Will Counties: A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 9PM tonight (Monday) until 4AM Wednesday.
For Lake(IN), Porter(IN) and Jasper(IN) Counties: A Winter Storm Storm Warning is in effect from 9PM tonight until 10AM Wednesday.
For De Kalb, La Salle, Lee, Ogle, Boone and Winnebago Counties: A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 6PM this evening until 4AM Wednesday.
For Kendall, Grundy, Kankakee, Linvingston, Ford, Iroquios, Newton(IN) and Benton(IN) Counties: A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 9PM tonight until 10AM Wednesday.
For Kenosha(WI), Racine(WI), Walworth(WI) and Milwaukee(WI) Counties: A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 12AM Tuesday until 6AM Wednesday
For LaPorte(IN), St. Joseph(IN) and Berrian(MI) Counties: A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for late Monday night through Wednesday.
Counties shaded in RED= Winter Storm Warning (6 to 13 inches)
Counties shaded in WHITE= Winter Weather Advisory (5 to 9 inches)
Counties shaded in YELLOW= Winter Storm Watch
The evening suite of computer guidance is in and at this time the current forecast for heavy snow in the Chicago area appears rock-solid. Current timing places the onset of significant snow here on Monday evening at the tail end or just after the evening rush hour and continuing into Wednesday morning. Snow totals should be in the 6-10 inch range with the highest amounts near Lake Michigan where some areas could reach 12 inches. In addition to the system snow, a period of lake-enhanced snow is expected late Tuesday night into early Wednesday in the storm’s waning hours. The lake-effect should shift into northern Indiana during Wednesday as winds become more northwesterly.
A steady light snow is expected to spread into the Chicago metro area Monday afternoon and begin to accumulate later that night. There will be an extended 24- to 30-hour period of snow as low pressure passes to the south and tracks east. Winds will grow much stronger Tuesday, gusting in excess of 30 mph gradually shifting from the east to the north by evening. Snowfall will be enhanced by the northeasterly flow off Lake Michigan. Going into evening rush hour Tuesday, snow totals could range from 6 to 10 inches with more to come. As the storm center pulls away into Ohio, snow and winds will slowly diminish Tuesday night, but north to northwest flow will result in accumulating snows around the south end of the lake and in northwest Indiana into Wednesday.
Mid-Atlantic in storm’s sights
Another low pressure center will be tracking through the south in concert with the low moving through the Ohio Valley, spreading rain over the Gulf coast states. The southern low is expected to swing northeast, moving off the North Carolina coast Wednesday, pulling moist northeast flow and additional snow back into the same Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey area hit with one to two-foot snows last Saturday.