Video: Scott Collis of Argonne National Laboratory and Victor Gensini of Northern Illinois University join “Chicago Tonight” to fill us in on what to expect from the coming storm. (Produced by Nick Blumberg)
A winter storm warning is in effect for the Chicago region, with the first round of snow expected late Tuesday evening into most of Wednesday, followed by a second round of snow Thursday.
Wednesday is looking like the messier of the two days, according to the National Weather Service, particularly affecting the morning commute. Snow will be at its most intense between 3 a.m. and noon, falling at a rate of nearly an inch an hour in some places, meteorologists said.
Anticipated snow totals range between 4 to 12 inches, with the higher amounts predicted for areas south of I-55. The way the storm is tracking, portions of northern Cook County could see an inch of snow, and southern Cook could get walloped with a foot. A sharp cut-off along the storm’s northern edge could leave places like Rockford with an inch or less.
Perhaps the most significant characteristic of the storm will be its duration, the weather service said. Instead of a quick hit, snow is likely to fall for 12 to 18 hours, which could take a toll on efforts to clear roadways.
Round two, set to hit Wednesday night into Thursday afternoon, is less predictable, and could trend to the south, with minimal impact, the weather service said. This second disturbance is smaller and more subtle than the massive storm systems the service typically monitors, and has been difficult to track, meteorologists said during a briefing Tuesday afternoon.
Though a lake effect band could form, as of Tuesday, models weren't showing anything that would produce significant accumulation, the weather service said.
Round 1 will arrive tonight and last through much of Wed. Widespread snow totals of 8 to 12" will make travel difficult if not dangerous. A sharp gradient in snow is expected in NW IL, including over the Chicago metro area. Prepare for a difficult Wed AM commute. #ilwx #inwx pic.twitter.com/ptBZKlIWqP
— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) February 1, 2022