CHICAGO — Our run of quiet weather is about to come to an abrupt end. A powerful winter storm will impact the Chicago area beginning later Friday.
The system in question is currently moving out of the Gulf of Alaska and the specifics will be nailed down in the next 30 hours or so.
But, here is what we know now:
A windy warm-up along with occasional light rain is likely Thursday as a howling southerly wind sends temperatures surging well into the 40s.
Then things start to get interesting. Expect periods of light rain on Friday, but precipitation will increase in coverage and intensity Friday night into Saturday.
A real meteorological smorgasbord is likely with all forms of precipitation on the table: beginning as rain/freezing rain then changing to heavy, wind whipped snow Saturday night before ending early Sunday morning.
Winds could gust near 50 mph causing significant travel disruptions as well as whipping up 12+ feet waves on Lake Michigan, causing lakeshore flooding along the Illinois/Indiana shoreline.
The exact track of the system will ultimately determine where the heavy snow/ice and rain will fall. But, the most plausible solution has the best chance for significant snow over the northern metro area into southern Wisconsin.
This is an early heads up if you have travel plans Saturday. Conditions could deteriorate rapidly, especially if you're heading north. The WGN Weather Center will have more details as the storm system moves closer. The latest forecast details can also be found at wgntv.com/weather