Chances are increasing for accumulating snow over the Chicago area Thursday night into Friday. The highly advertised and anticipated storm system that has been talked about for over a week is expected to lift northeast out of the Rockies into the Plains Wednesday night and during the day on Thursday. Aided by deep Gulf of Mexico moisture and a powerful upper level jet stream, this storm is to become quite potent with significant snow (12"+) and ice expected to fall across the central U.S. Wednesday and Thursday.
The storm will continue to lift northeast towards the Midwest Thursday afternoon/evening. As it does, it will enter an occluded or weakening phase. Uncertainties still remain in how quickly the storm weakens, but it's becoming more and more evident that enough moisture will be available for a period of accumulating snow to occur Thursday night.
In addition, there are also concerns of the mid-levels in the atmosphere drying up and thus ending snowfall production overnight Thursday and into Friday. Once this happens a period of freezing drizzle and/or a mix of rain/snow is to occur on Friday.
Timing: Precipitation is expected to begin as snow Thursday night. A burst of moderate to heavy accumulating snow will fall Thursday night before ending/transitioning to freezing drizzle overnight Thursday into Friday. Freezing drizzle and/or a mix or drizzle and light snow will continue through the day on Friday.
Accumulation: 1-5" of snow is expected across the Chicago land area with higher amounts occurring west (Rockford area -- Boone, Ogle, Winnebago Counties and points west). Lower amounts to occur east/southeast of the Chicago metro area.
Impacts: Snow and light ice accumulations will make for hazardous driving and will likely result in delays (both air and ground). Morning commute Friday to be impacted.
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