The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch as much of the Chicago area, including Lake and McHenry counties, will see more than six inches of snow and possibly 40 mph winds on New Year’s Day.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said the watch will go into effect Saturday morning through late Saturday evening.
The watch will be in effect for Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Cook, Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, Kane, LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy and Will counties.
“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 more than six 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.
The NWS said there is a high probability that Lake and McHenry counties will see at least 5-6 inches of snow.
The combination of snow and wind will make travel hazardous regardless of the exact snow amounts, the NWS said in the statement.
The steadiest snow rates will most likely be between noon Saturday and midnight Sunday. Wind gusts over 40 mph are possible.
Widespread blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility, especially along the Lake Michigan shoreline, the NWS said.
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.