Chicagoans are bracing for a wintry week to start off the first full week of the New Year. Snowfall Monday night will set the landscape for a steep drop in temperatures for the rest of the week. The National Weather Service is predicting highs in only the single digits this Wednesday, and otherwise in the teens -- with wind chills of 20 degrees below 0.
But, before that extreme drop in mercury levels, meteorologists say we're going to get some snow from a fast-moving clipper that will leave about 2-4 inches in the heart of the metro area; a little less to the north, and a little more to the south.
It’s expected to start this evening, and will pick up to 1-2 inches of snowfall an hour, then transition to light snowfall overnight, and should be done by daybreak tomorrow.
The Weather Service says while this is typical for this time of year, temperatures are lower than normal.
Either way, most of us are noticing it because this is the first true winter blast of what's been an otherwise mild winter.
In preparation, most city agencies say they're doing the same things they always do.
The Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation says they have 280 snow plows and salt spreaders at the ready, all 19 salt stations are open and ready, and they also have smaller vehicles with scrapers to tend to the smaller streets.
They are advising people who need assistance with heat to call 311 or visit City Warming Centers for location information.
Winter preparation information is also available at Alert Chicago.