For the first time this winter, northern Illinois may see subzero temperature lows with an incoming snowstorm.
Gino Izzi, meteorologist for National Weather Service out of Chicago, said the more northern part of the state is looking at a prolonged light snow event starting as early as Wednesday afternoon. The storm will develop from the south and travel north from there, meaning areas around Interstate 80 could be looking at the storm starting between 1 and 3 p.m. Wednesday.
“As you get further north to the Wisconsin line, you’re looking at a start time of about 6 p.m. or so,” Izzi said.
By Thursday morning, Izzi said, it looks like the light snowfall will taper off between late morning and early afternoon, but it's hard to pin down exact stopping times in exact places at this time. He said there may be less snow further north or more snow south of I-80.
“By the time it’s all said and done, we’re looking at snowfall of 2 to 5 inches,” Izzi said.
Will County, La Salle County, and Grundy counties are under a winter weather advisory from 2 p.m. Wednesday until noon Thursday.
DeKalb, Kane, DuPage, and Cook counties are under a winter weather advisory from 4 p.m. Wednesday until noon Thursday.
Izzi said it looks like frigid cold air will start to flood in later Thursday. He said the temperatures will start to fall during the day from the teens to single digits but will most likely stay above zero degrees through sunset.
However, Izzi said a good chunk of northern Illinois and the area will possibly see subzero low temperatures Thursday night and Friday morning is looking pretty cold.
“It will likely be the coldest night thus far this winter,” Izzi said.
Izzi said it wouldn't be out of the question for the area to get -20 or -25 degree wind chills Thursday night or Friday morning, but it looks like the wind chill should be close to the actual air temperature. He said that's a far cry from the -40 or -60 degree wind chills that the area was facing around this time last year.
“That really makes all the difference in the world,” Izzi said.
But it doesn't appear that the cold weather will be here to stay for long, Izzi said.
Izzi said this storm system appears to basically be following the typical pattern for this winter, where the area gets a few days of snow or cold temperatures but the mercury will climb to near or above-average temperatures for the area – which are low to mid-30s for average highs and the normal lows being upper teens or 20 degrees.
“So we're just looking at a couple of days of hard-hitting Chicago type of winter weather,“ Izzi said.
In the meantime, Izzi said, he wanted to remind people in the area to limit time spent outdoors, bring pets indoors and dress in warm layers for the next couple of days.
“The less skin you have exposed, the better,” Izzi said.
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