5am Wednesday, 12/21: A powerful storm system will bring dangerous winter weather to the western Great Lakes region
Thursday through Friday with strong winds, falling and blowing and drifting snow, and bitterly cold temperatures.
The worst conditions will occur on Thursday and Friday, with impacts continuing into the holiday weekend.
On Thursday, accumulating snow will develop while a sharp Arctic front sweeps across the area, potentially causing a flash freeze on roads.
Dangerous conditions will continue through Friday from blowing and drifting snow,
some falling snow, and extreme cold with wind chills as low as 35 below zero.
The bitterly cold temperatures will continue through the holiday weekend leading to an increasing risk of ice jams.
Impacts from this storm will be driven by the combination of cold, wind, and snow rather than snow alone.
Don’t let your guard down by unimpressive snowfall forecasts;
the combined effects will lead to dangerous travel conditions.
...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM LATE THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE FRIDAY NIGHT... * WHAT...Blizzard conditions possible. Dangerous travel likely. Winds could gust as high as 55 mph. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 5 inches possible. Wind chill values of 25 to 35 below zero expected. * WHERE...Portions of central, north central and northeast Illinois. * WHEN...From late Thursday morning through late Friday night. * IMPACTS...Falling or blowing snow may result in white out conditions with zero visibility at times, making travel extremely difficult, if not impossible. Power outages will also be possible as a result of strong wind gusts to 45 to 55 mph. Roads will likely quickly become ice covered as temperatures rapidly fall on Thursday. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Dangerously cold wind chills as low as 25 to 35 below zero are likely Thursday night through Friday night. Wind chills of this magnitude can cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 20 minutes. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... Prepare for possible blizzard conditions. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts for updates on this situation.
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