WINTER STORM continues. Highs winds and a wintry mix of precip—including snow, rain and sleet—have dominated the day.  40 mph wind gusts—have occurred—sending a tree crashing down on pedestrians off Sheridan Road near the Northwestern University campus– resulting injuries to four—three taken to the hospital, one with reportedly serious injuries, reports the NWS.

Snow’s been falling and accumulating north and west of the city restricting visibilities to ½ to 1 miles and may continue at fractions of a mile in heavier snowfall into tonight. As much and 3 to 4″ is down in northwest Illinois north into southern Wisconsin near Janesville—and a transition to snow will take place as the storm entrains colder air.  Areas from portions of Lake into McHenry, Boone and Winnebago counties are reporting accumulation ranging from 0.5″ to 2″–but those numbers will increase as snow continues to fall.

Snow should be replacing the mix of precip currently occurring across the entire city by 6 to 7 pm—with lake enhancement of some of the snow the first half of tonight as NNE winds feed additional moisture off the lake.

A winter weather advisory has been extended into northwest Indiana where it goes into effect a 7pm and runs until 4 am.  Across Chicago and the area essentially from I-80 and north, A winter weather advisory runs through midnight and a winter storm warning remains in effect through MIDNIGHT in northern Illinois counties along the Wisconsin line.

Latest warnings and watches from the National Weather Service.

1 to 5″ of snow is to accumulate from the I-80 corridor north—including 2-4″ is likely over much of Chicago proper tonight with an isolated 5″ total conceivable in a heavier lake snow bursts. Totals of 4 to 7″ are expected in the Illinois counties along the Wisconsin line.

Snow should be ending most areas toward midnight —except for some lingering lake effect snow showers near the Illinois Lake Michigan shoreline into the wee hours of Friday morning.

Snows will continue to blow off Lake Michigan in northwest Indiana producing 1 to 3″ accumulations overnight there.

Strong winds continue over night—gusting to 40 mph at times across the area and sending huge waves into the Illinois and Indiana shorelines. A LAKESHORE FLOOD ADVISORY is in effect there 

The sun’s back Friday and warming commences this weekend as Pacific air rushes back into the area in gusty SW winds which may top 30 mph at times both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. 

Sun will give way to clouds Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning—with some sun re-emerging Sunday afternoon.

Mild temps continue into early next week. But the active pattern we’ve been mentioning for next week still appears likely to produce above normal precip. Arctic air in the U.S. border states with Canada and unseasonable warmth across the South sets up a powerhouse west to east jet stream which is predicted to carry a storm into the Midwest Wed afternoon through Thursday. The form the precip will take is hard to pin down. But the potential for a wintry mix or snow is NOT zero and the future track of that system bears monitoring.

TONIGHT: Mixed precipitation and rain transitions to all snow early, turning significantly colder and remaining quite windy. Gusts to 40 mph at times. Storm accumulations of 1 to 5″ from the I-80 corridor north—with 2 to 4″ possible in Chicago—and 4 to 7″ in the Illinois border counties with Wisconsin.  Snowfall amounts will drop off rapidly south of I-80. Snow will wind down by midnight in Illinois—but lake effect snow showers continue on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Illinois for several additional hours and in northwest Indiana into Friday morning. Low 20.

Full forecast details at the WGN Weather Center

FRIDAY: Turning mostly sunny, windy and colder. Lake snows end early in northwest Indiana. High 27.

FRIDAY NIGHT: Mainly clear and cold. Winds ease. Low 20—with teens colder inland locations,.

SATURDAY: Opens with sun—but increasing cloudiness, breezy and milder. High 44.

SUNDAY: Clouds break by afternoon at times allowing some mixed sun. Windy and milder still. High 49.

MONDAY: Clouding over, not quite as mild—but still well above normal. Chance of some rain or snow at night. High 41.

TUESDAY: Partly sunny. A chilly light easterly flow off Lake Michigan develops. High 41—but 30s lakeshore.

WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY: Cloudy and windy. A rain, snow or a wintry mix develops Wed afternoon and continues into Thursday when precip may trend more to rain.  High Wednesday 37.  Thursday’s high 43.