A significant snowfall is expected on Saturday into Sunday throughout the Chicagoland, according to the National Weather Service. | Graphic via NWS

The National Weather Service says that much of the Chicago area, including Lake and McHenry counties, will likely see at least five or six inches of snow during a winter storm starting New Year’s Day.

“Confidence continues to increase in significant winter travel impacts on the afternoon and night of New Year’s Day and into early Sunday morning,” the NWS said in a statement.

A storm system will bring several inches of snow to much of the area and blustery winds from the north will cause blowing and drifting snow.

The exact track and strength of the storm will determine how much snow falls and where the highest totals occur, the NWS said.

Meteorologists say it is too early to say exactly how much snow the impacted areas could receive.

The NWS said there is a high probability that Lake and McHenry counties will see at least 5-6 inches of snow.

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The combination of snow and wind will make travel hazardous regardless of the exact snow amounts, the NWS said in the statement.

Travel by both plane and car will be significantly impacted for much of the area.

Freezing rain could also occur in parts of central and east central Illinois and northwest Indiana.

Residents should plan accordingly and prepare for much longer travel times on snow and ice-covered roads, the NWS said, adding that people should consider traveling before the storm on Friday or on Sunday after the snow has been cleared.

On Thursday, a narrow band of snow developed over the northern Chicago metropolitan area during the early morning hours and dropped 1-3 inches of snow in Lake and McHenry counties, the NWS said.